[adjective noo-klee-it, -eyt, nyoo-; verb noo-klee-eyt, nyoo-]
See more synonyms for nucleate on
verb (used with object), nu·cle·at·ed, nu·cle·at·ing.
  1. to form (something) into a nucleus.
verb (used without object), nu·cle·at·ed, nu·cle·at·ing.
  1. to form a nucleus.

Origin of nucleate

First recorded in 1860–65, nucleate is from the Latin word nucleātus having a kernel or stone. See nucleus, -ate1
Related formsnu·cle·a·tion [noo-klee-ey-shuh n, nyoo-] /ˌnu kliˈeɪ ʃən, ˌnyu-/, nounnu·cle·a·tor, nounmul·ti·nu·cle·ate, adjectiveun·nu·cle·at·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for nucleation

nucleation, seeding

British Dictionary definitions for nucleation


adjective (ˈnjuːklɪɪt, -ˌeɪt)
  1. having a nucleus
verb (ˈnjuːklɪˌeɪt) (intr)
  1. to form a nucleus
Derived Formsnucleation, nounnucleator, noun
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 nucleation

1861, noun of action from nucleate (v.), from Latin nucleatus, past participle of nucleare, from nucleus (see nucleus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nucleation in Medicine


  1. The beginning of chemical or physical changes at discrete points in a system, such as the formation of crystals in a liquid.
  2. The formation of cell nuclei.


[nōōklē-āt′, -ĭt]
  1. Nucleated.
  1. To form into a nucleus.
  2. To serve or act as a nucleus for.
  3. To provide a nucleus for.
  1. A salt of a nucleic acid.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.