nuclear

adjective
nu·​cle·​ar | \ ˈnü-klē-ər, ˈnyü-, 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

Haq noted that Guterres has urged the U.S. and Russia to resolve their dispute over the INF, to extend the New START treaty and to take new steps to reduce nuclear stockpiles. Fox News, "Treaty exits and extensions top Trump adviser's Moscow talks," 23 Oct. 2018 Whether airports, nuclear plants, waterfront development or more, everything takes about three times longer than initially expected, and almost always costs more, too. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Here's why Detroit development takes so long," 11 July 2018 Pompeo had been expected to bring to Pyongyang a more detailed plan to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear stockpile and long-range missiles within a year. David S. Cloud, latimes.com, "Pompeo heads to North Korea to press Kim on nuclear disarmament," 6 July 2018 Lobbyists representing companies as diverse as Apple and Exxon Mobil have railed for months against President Donald Trump’s call to bail out struggling coal and nuclear plants as likely to drive up U.S. power costs. James Osborne, San Antonio Express-News, "Higher power costs energize coal bailout fight," 5 July 2018 The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed U.S. intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile. Matthew Pennington And Lolita C. Baldor, chicagotribune.com, "North Korea may not intend to fully give up its nuke arsenal, U.S. intelligence reports," 2 July 2018 The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed US intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile. Matthew Pennington And Lolita C. Baldor, The Christian Science Monitor, "US wants North Korea denuclearized in a year, but concerns remain," 2 July 2018 Duke Energy's McGuire nuclear plant on Lake Norman is south of the two ZIP codes being studied. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "These Charlotte-area ZIP codes have unusually high cancer rates," 21 June 2018 Stallworth’s investigation revealed the identities of military personel who were members of the Ku Klux Klan, including those with access to triggers for nuclear weapons, accoridng to the Desert News. Taylor Crumpton, Teen Vogue, "The Real-Life Story Behind "BlacKkKlansman"," 10 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for nuclear

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nuclear

The first known use of nuclear was in 1822

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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, 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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on nuclear

Spanish Central: Translation of nuclear

Nglish: Translation of nuclear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nuclear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nuclear

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