[ kawr, kohr ]
/ kɔr, koʊr /
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verb (used with object), cored, cor·ing.
of central importance; basic; fundamental: the core values of our organization.
noting or relating to the muscles of the torso: core exercises for back pain.
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Origin of core

First recorded in 1350–1400; 1945–50 for def. 11; Middle English; origin uncertain; perhaps from Old French cors “body,” from Latin corpus


coreless, adjective


core , corps, corpse, corpus

Other definitions for core (2 of 5)

[ kawr, kohr ]
/ kɔr, koʊr /

noun Chiefly Scot.
a small company or group of people, especially a gang of miners or a small corps of workers.

Origin of core

First recorded in 1620–30; alteration of Middle English chor(e) “group, company; choir”; see chorus

Other definitions for core (3 of 5)

[ kawr-ee, kohr-ee ]
/ ˈkɔr i, ˈkoʊr i /

Classical Mythology. Kore.

Other definitions for core (4 of 5)


or C.O.R.E.

[ kawr, kohr ]
/ kɔr, koʊr /

Congress of Racial Equality.

Other definitions for core (5 of 5)


a combining form extracted from hard-core, used to form words that name a rebellious or nonmainstream lifestyle, social movement, type of music, etc.: normcore; queercore; emocore.
the compounding form of core, used to form words describing an aesthetic or imagery that evokes nostalgia for vintage styles, traditional skills, past trends, etc.: grandmacore; cottagecore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -core mean?

The combining formcore is used like a suffix to denote “a rebellious, anti-mainstream lifestyle, social movement, type of music, etc.”

The form –core comes from the expression hardcore, “a form of punk rock or other nonmainstream popular music.” Hardcore can denote not just a kind of a music but an entire lifestyle culture. From this, –core came to denote other music scenes, lifestyle cultures, or aesthetics.

Examples of -core

One example of a term that features the form –core is emocore, “a type of guitar-based rock music derived from punk rock but characterized by highly emotive, melodramatic, personal lyrics.”

The element emo– here is short for “emotional.” As we have already seen, –core denotes a rebellious type of music. Emocore literally means “a rebellious and emotional type of music.”

What are some words that use the combining form –core?

  • cottagecore
  • punkcore
  • queercore
  • lovecore

What are some other forms that –core may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that ends with the exact letters –core, e.g., soft-core or fourscore, is necessarily using the combining form –core to denote “a rebellious lifestyle.” Learn why fourscore means “eighty” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Given the meaning of –core, what is queercore?

How to use core in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for core (1 of 3)

/ (kɔː) /

(tr) to remove the core from (fruit)

Derived forms of core

coreless, adjective

Word Origin for core

C14: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for core (2 of 3)

/ (kɔː) /

n acronym for (in the US)
Congress of Racial Equality

British Dictionary definitions for core (3 of 3)


n combining form
indicating a type of popular musicdancecore
adj combining form
indicating the number of processing units working in parallel in a computerdual-core
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

Scientific definitions for core

[ kôr ]

The central or innermost portion of the Earth, lying below the mantle and probably consisting of iron and nickel. It is divided into a liquid outer core, which begins at a depth of 2,898 km (1,800 mi), and a solid inner core, which begins at a depth of 4,983 km (3,090 mi).
A piece of magnetizable material, such as a rod of soft iron, that is placed inside an electrical coil or transformer to intensify and provide a path for the magnetic field produced by the current running through the wire windings.
The central part of a nuclear reactor where atomic fission occurs. The core contains the fuel, the coolant, and the moderator.
A long, cylindrical sample of soil, rock, or ice collected with a drill to study the strata of material that are not visible from the surface.
A stone from which one or more flakes have been removed, serving as a tool in itself or as a source of flakes from which other tools could be fashioned. Stones used as cores include flint, chert, and obsidian. See more at core tool.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for core


In geology, the central region of the Earth; it extends fourteen hundred to eighteen hundred miles from the Earth's center.

notes for core

The core is made primarily of iron and nickel and has two parts — an inner solid core and an outer liquid core.

notes for core

The mantle is the layer of the Earth that overlies the core.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with core


see rotten to the core.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.