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nuclear energy energy released from atomic nuclei, as in nuclear fission or fusion.
nuclear family a self-contained unit consisting of a father and mother and their children living together in one household. (Cf. extended family.)
nuclear fission the splitting of an atomic nucleus into lighter fragments, usu. two of comparable mass, with an accompanying release of energy, as in the explosion of an atomic bomb.
nuclear fusion the fusion of atomic nuclei into a more massive nucleus, accompanied by a release of energy, as in the explosion of a hydrogen bomb.
nuclear physics the branch of physics that deals with the forces, behaviors, and structures of atomic nuclei.
nuclear reactor any of several devices that initiate and control a nuclear fission chain reaction to produce energy and material used for experimental and medical purposes.
nuclear winter a hypothesized result of a major nuclear war, wherein massive cloud covers of dust and smoke would block out sunlight, lowering the earth's temperature and destroying most living things.
nuclease any of several enzymes that facilitate the hydrolysis of nucleic acids.
nucleate possessing a nucleus or nuclei. [4 definitions]
nuclei pl. of nucleus.
nucleic acid any of a group of essential, complex acids comprising the genetic material of all living cells; DNA or RNA.
nucleolus a small spherical body in the nucleus of a cell, consisting of protein and RNA.
nucleon a proton or neutron, esp. as a component of an atomic nucleus.
nucleonics (used with a sing. verb) the science or technology having to do with atomic nuclei, esp. with nuclear energy.
nucleophile a substance that donates electrons or has an affinity for atomic nuclei.
nucleotide any of a class of esters on which nucleic acids are based.
nucleus the central, essential, or highly concentrated part around which other parts are grouped. [4 definitions]
nuclide a category of atoms, all of which have the same number of protons and neutrons and the same nuclear energy. [2 definitions]
nude not wearing clothes; naked. [5 definitions]
nudge to push gently or touch, esp. with the elbow and esp. so as to attract attention. [4 definitions]
nudism the belief in or the practice of not wearing clothes, esp. with others of both sexes in designated settings.