Etymology
Advertisement

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.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of nucleus

nucleus (n.)
a part of the cell containing DNA and RNA and responsible for growth and reproduction;
Synonyms: cell nucleus / karyon
nucleus (n.)
the positively charged dense center of an atom;
nucleus (n.)
a small group of indispensable persons or things;
Synonyms: core / core group
nucleus (n.)
(astronomy) the center of the head of a comet; consists of small solid particles of ice and frozen gas that vaporizes on approaching the sun to form the coma and tail;
nucleus (n.)
any histologically identifiable mass of neural cell bodies in the brain or spinal cord;
nucleus (n.)
the central structure of the lens that is surrounded by the cortex;
Synonyms: lens nucleus
From wordnet.princeton.edu