Definition of kernel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkəːn(ə)l/


1A softer, usually edible part of a nut, seed, or fruit stone contained within its shell: the kernel of a walnut pine kernels
More example sentences
  • What are commonly thought of as spices today are a collection of seeds, berries, flowers, fruits, kernels, roots, rhizomes, leaves, arils, barks and saps that are used in cooking and food preparation.
  • Some of you may wonder how locals manage to work the edible kernel from its black shell within seconds, while holding a conversation.
  • At the heart of the fleshy fruit, snug within its stony kernel, lies a bitter seed that is purported to hold miraculous anti-tumour properties.
1.1The seed and hard husk of a cereal, especially wheat: the milky kernel of the wheat grain
More example sentences
  • The presence in wheat kernels of a cathepsin B gene led the search for its barley counterpart.
  • The quality of that flour is due, in large part, to the work of hundreds of different proteins that perform specialized tasks inside the wheat kernel, or grain.
  • Refined white flour is what's left after the nutrient-packed germ and bran are milled out of the wheat kernel.
2The central or most important part of something: this is the kernel of the argument
More example sentences
  • While all of these arguments contain a kernel of truth, close analysis shows that they are disingenuous at best and downright misleading at worst.
  • Of course, there is a kernel of truth to what he's saying.
  • The essence of fabrication about someone's political position is to take a kernel of truth and apply so much distortion as to turn it into a lie.
essence, core, heart, essential part, essentials, quintessence, fundamentals, basics, nub, gist, substance, burden, heart of the matter, marrow, meat, pith, crux
informal nitty-gritty, nuts and bolts, brass tacks
nucleus, centre, germ, grain, nugget
2.1 Computing The most basic level or core of an operating system, responsible for resource allocation, file management, and security.
Example sentences
  • There is hardware support for position independent code and secure operation though privileged modes that prevent user programs from corrupting the operating system kernel.
  • In 1991, Torvalds began experimenting with a rudimentary operating system kernel.
  • The block layer is the chunk of the kernel responsible for supporting block devices.
2.2 [as modifier] Linguistics Denoting a basic unmarked linguistic string.


Old English cyrnel, diminutive of corn1.

  • corn from Old English:

    Corn, meaning ‘the seed of wheat and similar plants’, is an Old English word whose root may date back as far as farming itself. The modern sense of corny is a development of an earlier sense, dating from the 1930s, that described something, especially music, of a simple and unsophisticated type that appealed to people living in the country. Kernel (Old English) is based on corn and was originally a ‘little corn or seed’. The other kind of corn (Late Middle English), the small area of thickened horn-like skin on your foot, comes from Latin cornu ‘horn’. Cornu, which could also mean ‘tip’ or ‘corner’, is the source too of corner (Middle English)—you can think of a corner as the part of something that sticks out or forms the tip.

    The trumpet-like cornet (Late Middle English) is now made from brass, but it was originally a wind instrument made out of a horn, and Latin cornu is again the source. The early 20th century ice-cream cornet gets its name because it resembles that of the instrument. One brand of ice cream is called a Cornetto (‘little horn’), and this Italian word was also the name of an old musical instrument, a straight or curved wooden wind instrument with finger holes and a cup-shaped mouthpiece. See also horn

Words that rhyme with kernel

colonel, diurnal, eternal, external, fraternal, infernal, internal, journal, maternal, nocturnal, paternal, supernal, vernal

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ker¦nel

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