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 Warren and Sanders also are opposed to an expansion of nuclear energy. Mark K. Matthews, Scientific American, "Democratic Presidential Contenders Chart Different Paths to Clean Energy," 13 Nov. 2019 Modern nuclear submarines can travel submerged indefinitely, and U.S. Navy submarines can conduct an entire patrol underwater, unseen. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Lost World War II Submarine Rediscovered 75 Years Later," 12 Nov. 2019 But the bigger problem is that the anomaly feeds off energy, which a nuclear explosion would provide in abundance. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Michael Crichton’s classic thriller ‘The Andromeda Strain’ gets a deadly sequel," 12 Nov. 2019 But those efforts were resisted by nuclear opponents and those who prefer an increase in energy sources such as solar. Ian James, azcentral, "'Climate 2020' conference focuses on solutions for Arizona as planet heats up," 11 Nov. 2019 There are some 2,000 American troops in Turkey, and nuclear warheads as well — American nukes, about 50 of them, at Incirlik Air Base. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Turkey, NATO, and a Shifting World," 7 Nov. 2019 North Korea's nuclear problem, obviously, there's no real solution there without Chinese help and assistance. CBS News, "Transcript: Chris Johnson talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 6 Nov. 2019 The remainder would could from nuclear and natural gas plants and hydroelectric dams. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Renewables can't get grid to net zero alone, MIT scientists say," 5 Nov. 2019 In the same period, nuclear power stations generated 24 TWh of electricity, 11.45% more than the CEA’s estimates. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "This year, India’s power plants may consume less coal for the first time in a decade," 5 Nov. 2019

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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Learn More about nuclear

Time Traveler for nuclear

Time Traveler

The first known use of nuclear was in 1822

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Statistics for nuclear

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Nuclear.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuclear?pronunciation&lang=en_us&file=nucle01m.wav. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for nuclear

nuclear

adjective
How to pronounce nuclear (audio) How to pronounce nuclear (audio)

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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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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