ker·​nel | \ ˈkər-nᵊl How to pronounce kernel (audio) \

Definition of kernel

1 : the inner softer part of a seed, fruit stone, or nut … as brown in hue as hazelnuts, and sweeter than the kernels.— William Shakespeare
2 : a whole seed of a cereal a kernel of corn
3 : a central or essential part : germ like many stereotypes … this one too contains some kernels of truth— S. M. Lyman
4 chiefly dialectal : a fruit seed
5 mathematics : a subset of the elements of one set (such as a group) that a function (such as a homomorphism) maps onto an identity element of another set

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Examples of kernel in a Sentence

There's not a kernel of truth in what they say. the kernel of your argument seems to be the inevitability of the division of that nation along ethnic lines
Recent Examples on the Web Based on that kernel of an idea, Macro, a production company whose mandate is to finance and produce stories told through a multicultural lens, came on board and commissioned him to write the screenplay. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2021 His new music contains only one unpopped kernel of cosmic truth: The void is boring. Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2021 Gohmert’s comments, while skewed, have a kernel of truth to them, according to environmental experts and scientific research. Raga Justin, Dallas News, 13 Aug. 2021 In the corn dish, each kernel is deep-fried individually, a time-consuming process the Reaveses said was a company secret. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 11 Aug. 2021 The only kernel of truth to Elorza’s justification for his reparations scheme is that minority populations in Providence are disadvantaged in one significant way: the lack of meaningful K–12 educational opportunities. Mike Stenhouse, National Review, 31 July 2021 It’s a natural oil processed from a coconut kernel, which contains lauric acid, a fatty acid that promotes and increases antimicrobial activity that helps reduce bacteria and other infections and conditions of the skin. Deena Campbell, Allure, 4 Aug. 2021 There are popping sounds, the occasional exploding kernel and the air starts to smell sweet and a little smoky. Christian Reynoso, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Aug. 2021 Whole kernel corn is individually battered, fried, and seasoned, then topped with pork and pineapple slaw. Erin Booke, Dallas News, 15 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kernel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kernel

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for kernel

Middle English, from Old English cyrnel, diminutive of corn

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Time Traveler for kernel

Time Traveler

The first known use of kernel was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kernel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for kernel



English Language Learners Definition of kernel

: the small, somewhat soft part inside a seed or nut
: a whole seed especially : one of the yellow seeds that cover an ear of corn
: a very small amount of something


ker·​nel | \ ˈkər-nᵊl How to pronounce kernel (audio) \

Kids Definition of kernel

1 : the inner softer part of a seed, fruit stone, or nut
2 : the whole grain or seed of a cereal plant a kernel of corn
3 : a very small amount a kernel of truth

More from Merriam-Webster on kernel

Nglish: Translation of kernel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kernel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about kernel


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