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\Di"a*tom\, n. [Gr. ? cut in two. See Diatomous.]
1. (Bot.) One of the Diatomace[ae], a family of minute unicellular Alg[ae] having a siliceous covering of great delicacy, each individual multiplying by spontaneous division. By some authors diatoms are called Bacillari[ae], but this word is not in general use.
2. A particle or atom endowed with the vital principle.