View synonyms for nuclear


[ noo-klee-er, nyoo-or, by metathesis, -kyuh-ler ]


  1. pertaining to or involving atomic weapons:

    nuclear war.

  2. operated or powered by atomic energy:

    a nuclear submarine.

  3. (of a nation or group of nations) having atomic weapons.
  4. of, relating to, or forming a nucleus.
  5. of, relating to, or like the nuclear family:

    nuclear bonds.


, Informal.
  1. switching to nuclear as a power source.


/ ˈnjuːklɪə /


  1. of, concerned with, or involving the nucleus of an atom

    nuclear fission

  2. biology of, relating to, or contained within the nucleus of a cell

    a nuclear membrane

  3. of, relating to, forming, or resembling any other kind of nucleus
  4. of, concerned with, or operated by energy from fission or fusion of atomic nuclei

    a nuclear weapon

  5. involving, concerned with, or possessing nuclear weapons

    nuclear war

    a nuclear strike


/ no̅o̅klē-ər /

  1. Relating to or forming a cell nucleus.
  2. Relating to atomic nuclei.
  3. Using energy derived from the nuclei of atoms through fission or fusion reactions.

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Pronunciation Note

In pronouncing nuclear, the second and third syllables are most commonly said as [-klee-er], a sequence of sounds that directly reflects the spelled sequence ‑cle·ar. In recent years, a somewhat controversial pronunciation has come to public attention, with these two final syllables said as [-ky, uh, -ler]. Since [-klee-er], the common pronunciation of ‑cle·ar, might also be represented, broadly, as [-kl, uh, -yer], the [-ky, uh, -ler] pronunciation can be seen as coming from a process of metathesis, in which the [l] and the [y] change places. The resulting pronunciation is reinforced by analogy with such words as molecular, particular, and muscular, and although it occurs with some frequency among highly educated speakers, including scientists, professors, and government officials, it is disapproved of by many.

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Other Words From

  • in·ter·nu·cle·ar adjective
  • mul·ti·nu·cle·ar adjective
  • post·nu·cle·ar adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of nuclear1

1840–50; nucle(us) + -ar 1; compare French nucléaire

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Example Sentences

The deal unraveled by nightfall but helped pave the way in the years that followed to wholesale reductions in nuclear weapons at the end of the Cold War.

The year before, she was awarded the Lasker Prize for medical research — the first nuclear physicist to receive that honor.

The Cold War rumbled on for decades, sometimes taking America to the brink of nuclear war.

The threat of nuclear terrorism is such that we must act preemptively, not after a devastating attack.

Once Democrats agree if Republicans commit to blocking these bills in the Senate using what’s called the nuclear option, ending the filibuster, will be crucial.

But I think Steve Austin has to team up with a Japanese holdout to stop a nuclear bomb from going off or something.

He used negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program as an example.

Gordon G. Chang is a columnist and the author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.

Binding the resolution of my case to progress in the nuclear negotiations is profoundly unjust.

“Heavy water”, or D2O, is even less common in nature, though nuclear engineers make and use it in some reactors.

Upon careful inspection, however, delicate nuclear bands connecting the parts can usually be seen.

After a detailed discussion by Hartson Brant of the properties and limitations of nuclear explosions, the conference agreed.

Rick and Scotty watched the placement of the nuclear explosive—a simple steel can, from the outside—in the big hole.

But even to the nuclear explosion those rocks won't mean much.

Charlie was an engineer at the new nuclear powerhouse, just out of town.





nucivorousnuclear bomb