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[thur-moh-noo-klee-er, -nyoo- or, by metathesis, -kyuh-ler] /ˌθɜr moʊˈnu kli ər, -ˈnyu- or, by metathesis, -kyə lər/
of, relating to, or involving a thermonuclear reaction:
thermonuclear power.
Origin of thermonuclear
First recorded in 1935-40; thermo- + nuclear
Pronunciation note
See nuclear. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for thermonuclear
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Malone doubted that the aborigine knew anything about thermonuclear processes, but he could start a fire with them.

    Occasion for Disaster Gordon Randall Garrett
  • In that year, too, tests were made at Eniwetok preliminary to the detonation of the first thermonuclear device.

    Atoms, Nature, and Man Neal O. Hines
  • thermonuclear weapons, complemented over time by strong conventional forces, threatened societal damage to Russia.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
  • It also included immersion in technology and systems from thermonuclear weapons to advanced weapons software.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
  • And Blanley College was at the center of one of the areas which would receive the worst of the thermonuclear hell to come.

    The Edge of the Knife Henry Beam Piper
British Dictionary definitions for thermonuclear


involving nuclear fusion: a thermonuclear reaction, thermonuclear energy
involving thermonuclear weapons: a thermonuclear war
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thermonuclear

1938 with reference to stars, 1953 of weapons (technically only to describe the hydrogen bomb), from thermo- + nuclear.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thermonuclear in Science
  1. Relating to the fusion of atomic nuclei at high temperatures or to the energy produced in this way.

  2. Relating to weapons based on nuclear fusion, especially as distinguished from those based on nuclear fission.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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thermonuclear in Culture

thermonuclear definition

A term referring to devices that use nuclear fusion, the fusion of atomic nuclei, to produce energy at very high temperatures. (See hydrogen bomb.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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