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[noo-klee-er, nyoo- or, by metathesis, -kyuh-ler] /ˈnu kli ər, ˈnyu- or, by metathesis, -kyə lər/

pertaining to or involving atomic weapons:
nuclear war.
operated or powered by atomic energy:
a nuclear submarine.
(of a nation or group of nations) having atomic weapons.
of, relating to, or forming a nucleus.
of, relating to, or like the :
nuclear bonds.
noun, Informal.
switching to nuclear as a power source.
of, concerned with, or involving the nucleus of an atom: nuclear fission
(biology) of, relating to, or contained within the nucleus of a cell: a nuclear membrane
of, relating to, forming, or resembling any other kind of nucleus
of, concerned with, or operated by energy from fission or fusion of atomic nuclei: a nuclear weapon
involving, concerned with, or possessing nuclear weapons: nuclear war, a nuclear strike

1846, “of or like the nucleus of a cell,” from nucleus + -ar, probably by influence of French nucléaire. Use in atomic physics is from 1914; of weapons, from 1945. Hence nuclear physics (1933), nuclear energy (1941), nuclear war (1954). Nuclear winter coined by Richard Turco, but first attested in article by Carl Sagan in “Parade” magazine, Oct. 30, 1983. General sense of “central” is from 1912. Nuclear family, originally a sociologists’ term, is first attested 1949 in “Social Structure,” by American anthropologist G.P. Murdock (1897-1985). Alternative adjective nucleal is recorded from 1840.

nuclear nu·cle·ar (nōō’klē-ər, nyōō’-)



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