Words related to nucleic

nucleus (n.)

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" (source also of Middle Irish cnu, Welsh cneuen, Middle Breton knoen "nut," Old Norse hnot, Old English hnutu "nut").

The general sense of "central mass or thing, about which others cluster or matter collects," is from 1762. In biology, "dense, typically rounded structure in a cell, bounded by membranes," from 1831. Later they were found to contain the genetic material. Modern meaning in physics, "positively charged central core of an atom," is from 1912, by Ernest Rutherford, though theoretical use for "central point of an atom" is from 1844, in Faraday.

-in (2)

word-forming element in chemistry, usually indicating a neutral substance, antibiotic, vitamin, or hormone; a modification and specialized use of -ine (2).


Middle English -ik, -ick, word-forming element making adjectives, "having to do with, having the nature of, being, made of, caused by, similar to," from French -ique and directly from Latin -icus or from cognate Greek -ikos "in the manner of; pertaining to." From PIE adjective suffix *-(i)ko, which also yielded Slavic -isku, adjectival suffix indicating origin, the source of the -sky (Russian -skii) in many surnames. In chemistry, indicating a higher valence than names in -ous (first in benzoic, 1791).

In Middle English and after often spelled -ick, -ike, -ique. Variant forms in -ick (critick, ethick) were common in early Modern English and survived in English dictionaries into early 19c. This spelling was supported by Johnson but opposed by Webster, who prevailed.

deoxyribonucleic (n.)

1931, in deoxyribonucleic acid (originally desoxyribonucleic), a nucleic acid which yields deoxyribose on hydrolysis, from deoxyribose (q.v.) + nucleic acid (see nucleic). It is generally found in chromosomes of higher organisms and stores genetic information.

ribonucleic (adj.)

"of or pertaining to certain nucleic acids yielding ribose on hydrolysis," 1931, from ribo-, combining form of ribose, the sugar component, + nucleic acid.