Definition of kernel in English:



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

    • ‘Nutmeg is the kernel of the seed from an evergreen tree.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Macadamia is cultivated for its edible kernels.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's an almond kernel housed within a date and enrobed in dodgy Middle Eastern chocolate.’
    • ‘The kernels are available shelled or unshelled, toasted or raw.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Stress cracks are internal splits within kernels, and indicate that the corn underwent severe drying conditions.’
    • ‘So eat the kernel and throw away the husk when you're done.’
    • ‘The shell of the coconut is hard and rough, but the milk and kernel inside are delicious.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Crack a handful of whole new season's walnuts, remove the kernels from the shells and halve and quarter them.’
    • ‘From the salad menu, I chose the vine leaves stuffed with rice and pine kernels and served with sour cream.’
    • ‘The trouble with most speeches is that they suffer from extraneous verbiage - too much shell, not enough kernel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Back then the plant had small cobs and small, hard kernels of little nutritional value.’
    • ‘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.’
    seed, grain, heart, core, stone
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    1. 1.1The seed and hard husk of a cereal, especially wheat.
      • ‘While the dry weather is excellent for combining, there have been reports of wheat kernels almost too dry, a factor which can reduce weight.’
      • ‘This process destroys the germ and prevents the kernel from sprouting.’
      • ‘Bulgur is white or red, hard or soft, whole-wheat kernels that have been cracked, partially cooked and dried.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wheat germ is the small, inner part of the wheat kernel that is a concentrated source of nutrients.’
      • ‘‘Mature wheat kernels can sprout in the head when it rains just before harvest,’ Simmons says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The presence in wheat kernels of a cathepsin B gene led the search for its barley counterpart.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wheat grains possess a furrow running along the length of the kernel with a vascular bundle embedded at the bottom.’
      • ‘Refined white flour is what's left after the nutrient-packed germ and bran are milled out of the wheat kernel.’
      • ‘Wheat fields are ripening with the kernels in the soft to hard dough stages.’
      • ‘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.’
      seed, grain, heart, core, stone
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    2. 1.2[in singular]The central or most important part of something.
      ‘this is the kernel of the argument’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's hard to say more without giving away the precious kernels of the plot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The familiar lament by mothers everywhere may have a kernel of scientific truth.’
      • ‘But cliches, like myths, are often built around kernels of pure truth.’
      • ‘The solution is always within the kernel of the problem itself.’
      • ‘I'm willing to bet that there is a kernel of truth to this story and the rest is all rot.’
      • ‘There are kernels of truth in even its most outrageous statements.’
      • ‘In order for the farce/comedy bits to work one must feel they have a kernel of truth.’
      • ‘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 story also is an example of how kernels of truth are often contained in jokes or humorous anecdotes.’
      • ‘Gordon's statements about automobile steering have some kernels of truth but are also inaccurate.’
      • ‘There is a kernel of truth in these colourful illusions.’
      • ‘But there's always at least a kernel of truth in their stories, frequently much more than that.’
      • ‘These charges got considerable play in the press, and it must be said they contained kernels of truth.’
      • ‘There is a kernel of truth to the claims that recruitment is down, but that's for support units.’
      nucleus, centre, germ, grain, nugget
      essence, core, heart, essential part, essentials, quintessence, fundamentals, basics, nub, gist, substance, burden, heart of the matter, marrow, meat, pith, crux
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    3. 1.3The most basic level or core of an operating system of a computer, responsible for resource allocation, file management, and security.
      • ‘There is hardware support for position independent code and secure operation though privileged modes that prevent user programs from corrupting the operating system kernel.’
      • ‘The block layer is the chunk of the kernel responsible for supporting block devices.’
      • ‘In 1991, Torvalds began experimenting with a rudimentary operating system kernel.’
      • ‘The problematic patch, designed to fix a flaw in the way the kernel passes error messages to a debugger, was issued on April 16.’
      • ‘Because it takes our time and effort to recompile and reinstall kernels, we modified only four computers needed to cluster seven processors.’
    4. 1.4Linguistics [as modifier]Denoting a basic unmarked linguistic string.


Old English cyrnel, diminutive of corn.