ther·​mo·​nu·​cle·​ar | \ ˌthər-mō-ˈnü-klē-ər How to pronounce thermonuclear (audio) , -ˈnyü-, nonstandard -ˈn(y)ü-kyə-lər How to pronounce thermonuclear (audio) \

Definition of thermonuclear

1 : of, relating to, or employing transformations in the nuclei of atoms of low atomic weight (such as hydrogen) that require a very high temperature for their inception (as in the hydrogen bomb or in the sun) thermonuclear reaction thermonuclear weapon
2 : of, utilizing, or relating to a thermonuclear bomb thermonuclear war a thermonuclear attack

Examples of thermonuclear in a Sentence

Hydrogen bombs are thermonuclear weapons.
Recent Examples on the Web DeChambeau’s controversies emerge from his almost thermonuclear proclivity for violating golf’s behavioral norms. John Guaspari, National Review, 26 Sep. 2021 Even the invention of the atom bomb didn’t end the primacy of carriers; instead, carriers became a platform for delivering thermonuclear weapons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 24 Sep. 2021 During the Cold War, the U.S., even with NATO, didn’t have primacy over the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact for one reason: The Soviets saw a war as a fight to the finish in which nuclear and thermonuclear weapons would be used. WSJ, 29 May 2020 Many are the remains of massive stars that collapsed after burning through their thermonuclear trust funds. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, 6 May 2020 In one unsettling plot twist, a package containing a small thermonuclear device is slipped into an order of emergency food supplies. Adrian Chen, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 The new estimate is dramatically bigger than previous North Korean nuclear tests, lending credence to claims that a thermonuclear device was tested. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 5 June 2019 Pandemics have become a threat on the scale of thermonuclear war. Mark Olshaker, Fortune, 20 Apr. 2020 Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the feature-length pilot set off a thermonuclear explosion of artistic influence, immediately expanding the boundaries of TV drama. Darren Franich,, 7 Apr. 2020

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

1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for thermonuclear

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The first known use of thermonuclear was in 1938

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thermonuclear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of thermonuclear

: of or relating to the changes in the nucleus of atoms that happen at extremely high temperatures

More from Merriam-Webster on thermonuclear

Nglish: Translation of thermonuclear for Spanish Speakers


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