[verb ih-noo-klee-eyt, ih-nyoo-; adjective ih-noo-klee-it, -eyt, ih-nyoo-]

verb (used with object), e·nu·cle·at·ed, e·nu·cle·at·ing.

Biology. to deprive of the nucleus.
to remove (a kernel, tumor, eyeball, etc.) from its enveloping cover.
Archaic. to bring out; disclose; explain.


having no nucleus.

Nearby words

  1. entryway,
  2. entrée,
  3. entwine,
  4. entwist,
  5. entypy,
  6. enucleation,
  7. enuf,
  8. enugu,
  9. enumerable,
  10. enumerate

Origin of enucleate

1540–50; < Latin ēnucleātus (past participle of ēnucleāre to remove the pit from (fruit)), equivalent to ē- e-1 + nucle(us) nucleus + -ātus -ate1

Related formse·nu·cle·a·tion, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for enucleation

British Dictionary definitions for enucleation


verb (ɪˈnjuːklɪˌeɪt) (tr)

biology to remove the nucleus from (a cell)
surgery to remove (a tumour or other structure) from its capsule without rupturing it
archaic to explain or disclose

adjective (ɪˈnjuːklɪɪt, -ˌeɪt)

(of cells) deprived of their nuclei
Derived Formsenucleation, noun

Word Origin for enucleate

C16: from Latin ēnūcleāre to remove the kernel, from nūcleus kernel

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

Word Origin and History for enucleation



1640s, from verb enucleate (1540s), from Latin enucleatus "pure, clean," past participle of enucleare "to lay open, explain in detail," literally "to remove the kernel of" (see ex- + nucleus). Mostly figurative in Latin (the notion is of getting at the "core" of some matter); until mid-19c. advances in science and medicine, usually figurative in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for enucleation




To remove something, such as a tumor or an eye, whole and without rupture from an enveloping cover or sac.
To remove the nucleus of a cell.


Lacking a nucleus.
Related formse•nu′cle•ation n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.