Dictionary.com

nuclear winter

Save This Word!

noun

the general devastation of life, along with worldwide darkness and extreme cold, that some scientists believe would result from a global dust cloud screening out sunlight following large-scale nuclear detonations.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!

Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of nuclear winter

First recorded in 1980–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for nuclear winter

nuclear winter

noun

a period of extremely low temperatures and little light that, it has been suggested, would occur as a result of a nuclear 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

Cultural definitions for nuclear winter

nuclear winter

A theory first put forward in 1983 predicting that a large-scale nuclear exchange would produce enough smoke and soot to lower the temperature of the Earth significantly. Subsequent calculations indicated that the climatic effects would be much less than had originally been claimed, leading to the use of the term nuclear autumn to describe the phenomenon.

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.
Hate Typos? Get Grammar Coach