nuclear

adjective
nu·​cle·​ar | \ ˈnü-klē-ər How to pronounce nuclear (audio) , ˈnyü- How to pronounce nuclear (audio) , nonstandard -kyə-lər \

Definition of nuclear

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a nucleus annexation of the suburban fringe by the nuclear metropolis— W. H. Wickwar
2a : of or relating to the atomic nucleus nuclear reaction nuclear physics
b : used in or produced by a nuclear reaction (such 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
go nuclear
informal
: to become wildly excited or upset : to go berserk To say the crowd went wild is an understatement. The crowd went nuclear. Outside the stadium, cars were overturned and fires were set. We sportswriters huddled inside, fearing for our lives.— Tony Kornheiser

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How do you pronounce nuclear?: Usage Guide

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

Examples of nuclear in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regards the deal in its original form as an unjustified victory for the Iranian nuclear program. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Biden's top security adviser meets Israeli officials amid Kerry-Zarif uproar," 27 Apr. 2021 The deal promises Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. David Rising, Star Tribune, "Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna amid new complications," 27 Apr. 2021 Iran is also currently taking part in sensitive negotiations in Vienna with world powers over its nuclear program and a return to the JCPOA. Mostafa Salem And Ramin Mostaghim, CNN, "In leaked tape, Iran's foreign minister heard criticizing Revolutionary Guards and Qasem Soleimani," 26 Apr. 2021 The 2015 deal gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. Matthew Lee, ajc, "US outlines possible sanctions relief for Iran in nuke talks," 21 Apr. 2021 The two will discuss other regional security issues, including North Korea's nuclear program. BostonGlobe.com, "Biden hosts Japan’s prime minister as first foreign leader at the White House," 16 Apr. 2021 The two will discuss other regional security issues, including North Korea’s nuclear program. chicagotribune.com, "Japanese prime minister calls for a strong alliance with US in White House visit," 16 Apr. 2021 The International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran's nuclear program, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NBC News, "Iran starts enriching uranium to its highest level ever, edging closer to weapons-grade," 16 Apr. 2021 The two also discussed arms control, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Afghanistan and climate change, the Russians said. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Biden warns Putin against Ukraine aggression, invites him to a summit meeting," 13 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nuclear.' 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 nuclear

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nuclear

nucle(us) + -ar

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Time Traveler for nuclear

Time Traveler

The first known use of nuclear was in 1822

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Statistics for nuclear

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nuclear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuclear. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for nuclear

nuclear

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nuclear

: 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

nuclear

adjective
nu·​cle·​ar | \ ˈnü-klē-ər How to pronounce nuclear (audio) , ˈnyü- \

Kids Definition of nuclear

1 : of, relating to, or being a nucleus (as of a cell)
2 : of or relating to the nucleus of the atom Fission is a nuclear reaction.
3 : produced by a nuclear reaction nuclear energy
4 : of, relating to, or being a weapon whose destructive power comes from an uncontrolled nuclear reaction
5 : relating to or powered by nuclear energy a nuclear submarine

nuclear

adjective
nu·​cle·​ar | \ ˈn(y)ü-klē-ər How to pronounce nuclear (audio) \

Medical Definition of nuclear

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

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Comments on nuclear

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