nuclear

Nuclear describes something that has to do with the nucleus — the central part — of an atom. If you're a nuclear physicist, you do a lot of work with that part of the atom.

Nuclear power, which comes from nuclear fission — the energy released when the nucleus of an atom is split — is a controversial source of renewable energy. The word nuclear is sometimes used broadly to refer to the core of something. Your nuclear family is you, your parents, and your siblings — in a sense, the central part of your world, kind of like the nucleus of an atom.

Definitions of nuclear
  1. adjective
    constituting or like a nucleus
    “annexation of the suburban fringe by the nuclear metropolis”
    “the nuclear core of the congregation”
    Synonyms:
    central
    in or near a center or constituting a center; the inner area
  2. adjective
    of or relating to or constituting the nucleus of a cell
    nuclear membrane”
    nuclear division”
  3. adjective
    of or relating to or constituting the nucleus of an atom
    nuclear physics”
    nuclear fission”
    nuclear forces”
  4. adjective
    (weapons) deriving destructive energy from the release of atomic energy
    nuclear war”
    nuclear weapons”
    synonyms: atomic
    thermonuclear
    using nuclear weapons based on fusion as distinguished from fission
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    conventional
    (weapons) using energy for propulsion or destruction that is not nuclear energy
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week