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[in-fin-i-tes-uh-muh l] /ˌɪn fɪn ɪˈtɛs ə məl/
indefinitely or exceedingly small; minute:
infinitesimal vessels in the circulatory system.
immeasurably small; less than an assignable quantity:
to an infinitesimal degree.
of, relating to, or involving infinitesimals.
an infinitesimal quantity.
Mathematics. a variable having zero as a limit.
Origin of infinitesimal
1645-55; < New Latin infīnītēsim(us), equivalent to Latin infīnīt(us) infinite + -ēsimus suffix of ordinal numerals + -al1
Related forms
infinitesimality, infinitesimalness, noun
infinitesimally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for infinitesimal
  • Neither infinitesimal time nor infinitesimal space is possible.
  • But this temporal frame captures only a tiny portion-in fact, an infinitesimal one-of the entire future.
  • We do not and never will due to the infinity and infinitesimal nature of the universe.
  • It encourages people to invest their dreams, their hopes for a better future, into an infinitesimal probability.
  • When they collide, they explode into dozens of other particles, even more infinitesimal and fleeting.
  • The mouth washings had removed all but one microgram, an infinitesimal but nevertheless hazardous amount.
  • But you cannot weigh something to the infinitesimal number of decimal places, parts in a billion.
  • It is infinitesimal which is a positive nonstandard number which is smaller than any positive real number.
  • The displacement was infinitesimal on the scale of the sky, and a measure of impressive navigational precision.
  • They would develop together, in infinitesimal stages, over millions of years.
British Dictionary definitions for infinitesimal


infinitely or immeasurably small
(maths) of, relating to, or involving a small change in the value of a variable that approaches zero as a limit
(maths) an infinitesimal quantity
Derived Forms
infinitesimally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for infinitesimal

1710 (1650s as a noun), "infinitely small," from Modern Latin infinitesimus, from Latin infinitus "infinite" (see infinite) + -esimus, as in centesimus "hundredth." Related: Infinitesimally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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infinitesimal in Science
Adjective  Capable of having values approaching zero as a limit.

Noun  A function or variable continuously approaching zero as a limit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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