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 physicsb : used in or produced by a nuclear (see nuclear 2) reaction (such as fission) nuclear fuel nuclear waste nuclear energyc (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 powersd : of, relating to, or powered by nuclear energy a nuclear submarine the nuclear debate a nuclear plant
How do you pronounce nuclear?
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.
Recent Examples of nuclear from the Web
The Trump administration, like its recent predecessors, has put its money on finding a diplomatic path to halting and reversing North Korea’s nuclear program.
Regional disarmament talks on North Korea's nuclear program have been stalled since 2009.
The study adds to a catalog of ancient genomes, including mtDNA as well as the much larger nuclear genomes, from more than a dozen Neandertals.
Options include digging up buried treasure, hauling a nuclear bomb across skeleton country, and storing up floppy disks for the technocrats.
Most of the existential fear today comes from concerns over North Korea, but the reality is that North Korea’s farthest-reaching nuclear missile can reach only as far as Guam, according to Al Jazeera.
The president once argued that China was more than capable of coercing North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program and belligerent behavior — if Beijing only wanted to.
According to reports, the act allows Commonwealth Edison to have a 0.195-cent-per-kilowatt-hour charge that ComEd's parent company, Exelon, said is needed to keep two nuclear power plants open.
Then again, Kennedy also brought the world to the brink of nuclear war with the Cuban missile crisis.
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.
First Known Use of nuclear
NUCLEAR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of nuclear for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of nuclear for Students
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
Seen and Heard
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