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”
    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
    using nuclear weapons based on fusion as distinguished from fission
    see moresee less
    (weapons) using energy for propulsion or destruction that is not nuclear energy
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘nuclear'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up nuclear for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer