kernel

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noun ker·nel \ ˈkər-nᵊl \

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

Examples of kernel in a Sentence

  1. There's not a kernel of truth in what they say.

  2. the kernel of your argument seems to be the inevitability of the division of that nation along ethnic lines

Recent Examples of kernel from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of kernel

Middle English, from Old English cyrnel, diminutive of corn



KERNEL Defined for English Language Learners

kernel

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noun

Definition of kernel for English Language Learners

  • : 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


KERNEL Defined for Kids

kernel

play
noun ker·nel \ ˈkər-nᵊl \

Definition of kernel for Students

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


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