Say the word: mote. It's short and quick, isn't it? The word corresponds to its meaning, which is something tiny: a speck of dust, a bit of fluff, a speckle of gold in the prospector's pan.

We're not sure of the origin of the word mote, except that it is related to Germanic words meaning "sawdust or grit, tiny dust particles." We think of a mote as the tiniest of objects, but astronomer Carl Sagan demonstrates a different perspective when he looked at a photograph of Earth taken from a great distance by Voyager I and said, "We live on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

Definitions of mote

n (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything

atom, corpuscle, molecule, particle, speck
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a relatively small granular particle of a substance
material resulting from the process of grinding
a microscopic particle of triglycerides produced in the intestines during digestion; in the bloodstream they release their fatty acids into the blood
a tiny dark speck made by the excrement of a fly
identification particle
a tiny particle of material that can be added to a product to indicate the source of manufacture
a tiny grain
(trademark) a microscopic and traceable identification particle used to trace explosives or other hazardous materials or to prevent counterfeiting
Type of:
material, stuff
the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object

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