noun, plural nu·cle·i [noo-klee-ahy, nyoo-] /ˈnu kliˌaɪ, ˈnyu-/, nu·cle·us·es.
- the central, most prominent segment in a syllable, consisting of a vowel, diphthong, or vowellike consonant, as the a-sound in cat or the l-sound in bottled; peak.
- the most prominent syllable in an utterance or stress group; tonic syllable.
Origin of nucleus
Synonyms for nucleus
noun plural -clei (-klɪˌaɪ) or -cleuses
- the central point of a starch granule
- a rare name for nucellus
Word Origin for nucleus
1704, "kernel of a nut," 1708, "head of a comet," from Latin nucleus "kernel," from nucula "little nut," diminutive of nux (genitive nucis) "nut," from PIE *kneu- "nut" (cf. Middle Irish cnu, Welsh cneuen, Middle Breton knoen "nut," Old Norse hnot, Old English hnutu "nut"). General sense of "central part or thing, about which others cluster" is from 1762. Use in reference to cells first recorded 1831. Modern atomic meaning is 1912, first by Ernest Rutherford, though theoretical use for "central point of an atom" is from 1844, in Faraday.
n. pl. nu•cle•us•es
Plural nuclei (nōō′klē-ī′)
- The solid central part of a comet, typically several kilometers in diameter and composed of ice, frozen gases, and embedded chunks of rock and dust. It is the permanent part of a comet from which the coma and tail are generated as the comet approaches the Sun. See more at comet.
- See galactic nucleus.