Definition of kernel in English:



  • 1A softer, usually edible part of a nut, seed, or fruit stone contained within its shell.

    ‘the kernel of a walnut’
    ‘pine kernels’
    • ‘Crack a handful of whole new season's walnuts, remove the kernels from the shells and halve and quarter them.’
    • ‘The trees are elegant, usually small, and they bear bunches of small fruits; these are dark red when ripe, with seeds whose edible kernels constitute nuts and which have local importance as food in various parts of SE Asia.’
    • ‘For interesting crunch and flavor try tossing the kernels into your cereal or scattering them on top of the cream cheese on your morning bagel.’
    • ‘Macadamia is cultivated for its edible kernels.’
    • ‘The kernels are available shelled or unshelled, toasted or raw.’
    • ‘Halfway through cooking roughly chop the tomatoes and add them, then, once the wheat is cooked (it should still be nubbly and have some bite), stir in the toasted pine kernels and chopped mint leaves.’
    • ‘The trouble with most speeches is that they suffer from extraneous verbiage - too much shell, not enough kernel.’
    • ‘The shell of the coconut is hard and rough, but the milk and kernel inside are delicious.’
    • ‘Nutmeg is the kernel of the seed from an evergreen tree.’
    • ‘Stress cracks are internal splits within kernels, and indicate that the corn underwent severe drying conditions.’
    • ‘For pesto, the traditional method is to put basil leaves into the mortar before adding a fat clove of garlic, then some local olive oil and a handful of pine kernels.’
    • ‘I plumped for whole grilled lemon sole with smoked salmon and wasabi butter, while my companion chose grilled halibut with wild mushrooms on creamed leeks and pine kernels.’
    • ‘So eat the kernel and throw away the husk when you're done.’
    • ‘It's an almond kernel housed within a date and enrobed in dodgy Middle Eastern chocolate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Scatter the slivers of garlic and the pine kernels on top of the meat mixture, pressing them down a bit with the flat of your hand.’
    • ‘From the salad menu, I chose the vine leaves stuffed with rice and pine kernels and served with sour cream.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Back then the plant had small cobs and small, hard kernels of little nutritional value.’
    • ‘Some of you may wonder how locals manage to work the edible kernel from its black shell within seconds, while holding a conversation.’
    seed, grain, heart, core, stone
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    1. 1.1 The seed and hard husk of a cereal, especially wheat.
      ‘the milky kernel of the wheat grain’
      • ‘As in most early societies, there is plenty of evidence that Mayans and Aztecs were brewing from corn debris - husks, cobs and mashed kernels - long before the Europeans arrived.’
      • ‘High air temperatures and uneven moisture content within the kernel result in a much higher incidence of stress cracks in the kernels.’
      • ‘‘Mature wheat kernels can sprout in the head when it rains just before harvest,’ Simmons says.’
      • ‘She started by excising the embryos from immature wheat kernels.’
      • ‘Most grain mold pathogens become associated with the kernel in the field but can grow within the colonized kernel and even spread to adjacent kernels during storage.’
      • ‘Wheat fields are ripening with the kernels in the soft to hard dough stages.’
      • ‘Wheat germ is the small, inner part of the wheat kernel that is a concentrated source of nutrients.’
      • ‘Refined white flour is what's left after the nutrient-packed germ and bran are milled out of the wheat kernel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The presence in wheat kernels of a cathepsin B gene led the search for its barley counterpart.’
      • ‘Wheat grains possess a furrow running along the length of the kernel with a vascular bundle embedded at the bottom.’
      • ‘While the dry weather is excellent for combining, there have been reports of wheat kernels almost too dry, a factor which can reduce weight.’
      • ‘Bulgur is white or red, hard or soft, whole-wheat kernels that have been cracked, partially cooked and dried.’
      • ‘This process destroys the germ and prevents the kernel from sprouting.’
      • ‘Nutritionally, oats are similar to whole wheat, the main difference being that the oat kernel has not been taken apart, and the wheat kernel has.’
      seed, grain, heart, core, stone
      View synonyms
  • 2The central or most important part of something.

    ‘this is the kernel of the argument’
    • ‘The kernel of truth at the centre of an emotion is best discovered with the writerly equivalent of controlled burning, that is, a fearlessly wielded red pen.’
    • ‘The familiar lament by mothers everywhere may have a kernel of scientific truth.’
    • ‘In order for the farce/comedy bits to work one must feel they have a kernel of truth.’
    • ‘Gordon's statements about automobile steering have some kernels of truth but are also inaccurate.’
    • ‘I'm willing to bet that there is a kernel of truth to this story and the rest is all rot.’
    • ‘The story also is an example of how kernels of truth are often contained in jokes or humorous anecdotes.’
    • ‘These charges got considerable play in the press, and it must be said they contained kernels of truth.’
    • ‘The fine crafting of the words and the kernels of human truth they contain come together as sympathetic wholes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But there's always at least a kernel of truth in their stories, frequently much more than that.’
    • ‘It's hard to say more without giving away the precious kernels of the plot.’
    • ‘There is a kernel of truth to the claims that recruitment is down, but that's for support units.’
    • ‘But cliches, like myths, are often built around kernels of pure truth.’
    • ‘There is a kernel of truth in these colourful illusions.’
    • ‘The solution is always within the kernel of the problem itself.’
    • ‘Of course, there is a kernel of truth to what he's saying.’
    • ‘As with any technical topic, one needs to weed through a vast amount of information to find a kernel of truth.’
    • ‘Anyway, here's a piece Lucas wrote for the New Statesman two years ago, which I assume shows the kernel of his argument.’
    • ‘There are kernels of truth in even its most outrageous statements.’
    • ‘While all of these arguments contain a kernel of truth, close analysis shows that they are disingenuous at best and downright misleading at worst.’
    essence, core, heart, essential part, essentials, quintessence, fundamentals, basics, nub, gist, substance, burden, heart of the matter, marrow, meat, pith, crux
    nucleus, centre, germ, grain, nugget
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    1. 2.1Computing The most basic level or core of an operating system, responsible for resource allocation, file management, and security.
      • ‘The block layer is the chunk of the kernel responsible for supporting block devices.’
      • ‘The problematic patch, designed to fix a flaw in the way the kernel passes error messages to a debugger, was issued on April 16.’
      • ‘In 1991, Torvalds began experimenting with a rudimentary operating system kernel.’
      • ‘Because it takes our time and effort to recompile and reinstall kernels, we modified only four computers needed to cluster seven processors.’
      • ‘There is hardware support for position independent code and secure operation though privileged modes that prevent user programs from corrupting the operating system kernel.’
    2. 2.2Linguistics as modifier Denoting a basic unmarked linguistic string.


Old English cyrnel, diminutive of corn.