adjective \ˈnü-klē-ər, ˈnyü-, ÷-kyə-lər\

: of, relating to, producing, or using energy that is created when the nuclei of atoms are split apart or joined together

: having or involving nuclear weapons

: of or relating to the nucleus of an atom

Full Definition of NUCLEAR

:  of, relating to, or constituting a nucleus
a :  of or relating to the atomic nucleus <nuclear reaction> <nuclear physics>
b :  used in or produced by a nuclear reaction (as fission) <nuclear fuel> <nuclear waste> <nuclear energy>
c (1) :  being a weapon whose destructive power derives from an uncontrolled nuclear reaction
(2) :  of, produced by, or involving nuclear weapons <the nuclear age> <nuclear war> (3) :  armed with nuclear weapons <nuclear powers>
d :  of, relating to, or powered by nuclear energy <a nuclear submarine> <the nuclear debate> <a nuclear plant>
:  crazy, berserk —usually used in the phrase go nuclear

Usage Discussion of NUCLEAR

Though disapproved of by many, pronunciations ending in \-kyə-lər\ have been found in widespread use among educated speakers including scientists, lawyers, professors, congressmen, United States cabinet members, and at least two United States presidents and one vice president. While most common in the United States, these pronunciations have also been heard from British and Canadian speakers.

First Known Use of NUCLEAR


Other Cell Biology Terms

cytology, gamete, vacuole, zygote


adjective \ˈn(y)ü-klē-ər\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of NUCLEAR

: of, relating to, or constituting a nucleus
: of, relating to, or utilizing the atomic nucleus, atomic energy, the atomic bomb, or atomic power


Next Word in the Dictionary: nuclear bomb
Previous Word in the Dictionary: nucleal reaction
All Words Near: nuclear

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up nuclear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).