I don't want to use the word elemental, nor axiomatic, as both terms are already defined and in popular use.

Anyway, the way I want to use the term is not to describe the part, or type of part itself, but the quality that the part possesses; 'Something with which cannot be broken down any further possesses the quality x', where x is the word I seek, in the same way an axiom has the quality of being axiomatic.

  • essence/essential - "broken into its essential parts" – miltonaut Jun 18 '16 at 22:48
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    I'm not sure I understood your question but atomic is described as "of or forming a single irreducible unit or component in a larger system", and it's corresponding noun would be atomicity. Does that come close to what you were looking for? – Yay Jun 18 '16 at 22:54
  • @Yay Ah yes, Atomic, I do not know why that didn't come to mind. Thanks ^.^ – user2901512 Jun 18 '16 at 23:06
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    @Yay you know what, i'm gonna go with atomicity, you should include it add as an answer :) – user2901512 Jun 18 '16 at 23:30
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    Possible duplicate of What is the word for something that is non-divisible? – herisson Jun 19 '16 at 2:54

I think that the word atomic, which is often otherwise used in a physical sense, should be used here.

atomic a·tom·ic /əˈtämik/ adjective

  • of or relating to an atom or atoms. "the atomic nucleus"

  • Chemistry (of a substance) consisting of uncombined atoms rather than molecules. "atomic hydrogen"

  • of or forming a single irreducible unit or component in a larger system.

Oxford Dictionaries

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    I see the definition, but "atomic" is not the word that comes to mind when I contemplate things that can't be broken down any further. The ancient Greeks coined the term atom, but we now know that atoms can be broken down into protons, neutrons, and electrons, and that protons and neutrons can be broken down further into quarks. We talk of "splitting the atom". – Richard Kayser Sep 19 '16 at 2:57
  • But if it works for the OP, that's what matters! – Richard Kayser Sep 19 '16 at 3:19
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    @RichardKayser That’s hardly the fault of the Greeks. Atomic literally means ‘uncuttable’ (i.e., ‘unable to be cut/split up into smaller pieces’) – we were just too quick to apply it to a tiny thing in physics, not knowing that the thing we were thus (mis)naming was in fact not atomic. To me, atomic is absolutely a word I’d think of when I contemplate things that can’t be broken down any further. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 24 at 13:57

I'd go for irreducible, "not reducible; incapable of being reduced or of being diminished or simplified further".


While I agree that atomic may be the best fit, indecomposable works too.


indecomposable adjective

: not capable of being separated into component parts or elements


I try to get to the root of the problem. The root of any problem exists as the basis for all resulting and related things and issues.

The root of a word is the basis of its evolution and usage in our language.

Mathematically, a root is a component of an amount, part of a denominator, a multiplicand.

The root is elemental

  • A prime number used to be a number that could not be broken down any further. Then the algebraists began to insist that 1 is not a prime. – Airymouse Sep 18 '16 at 22:29

"Simplex" is another one that would work.

"Simplex" derives from the same root as "simple," but is used more exclusively in the technical sense of being irreducible in form. I think "simplicity" is the noun form of both. It can be used to mean, "Freedom from division into parts."



that cannot be expressed or described in language. (OED)

  • add a citation or dictionary ref to your answer if you please. – lbf Mar 15 '18 at 23:31
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    I think this doesn't really fit, since an atom for example cannot be broken down any further, but that doesn't make it ineffable. – Laurel Mar 16 '18 at 0:34

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