Definition of nuclear weapon in US English:

nuclear weapon


  • A bomb or missile that uses nuclear energy to cause an explosion.

    ‘both leaders pledged to work together to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons’
    • ‘A nuclear weapon using plutonium requires approximately six kilograms of fissile material.’
    • ‘The invention of nuclear weapons made this scenario a real possibility.’
    • ‘In secret 1957 meetings at Livermore, he suggested that if you rocketed a nuclear weapon at the Moon all sorts of interesting scientific observations might be secured.’
    • ‘This raises the possibility that it might be legal to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of chemical or biological weapons.’
    • ‘Fortunately, the narrator survives the Third World War - one fought with nuclear weapons - to tell the tale!’
    • ‘It is difficult to see how the use of a nuclear weapon could ever avoid causing suffering disproportionate to military gain.’
    • ‘He says, for instance, "There was no mention of national security or the acquisition of nuclear weapons [in the workings of the atomic energy establishment]".’
    • ‘"Human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations."’
    • ‘But in March 2002, the Pentagon issued a Nuclear Posture Review that cited the need for new nuclear weapons designed to destroy deeply buried command centres and biological weapon facilities.’
    • ‘But with nuclear weapons, there isn't going to be a learning period.’
    • ‘Wacky hijinks ensue when Gary Seven, the secret agent from across the stars, tries to stop the space launch of an orbital nuclear weapon that the Enterprise has been sent to watch.’
    • ‘We marched against nuclear weapons not just because of their moral poverty, but also because the more we found out about what humanity was capable of, the less we could be deceived by the notion that safety lay in the doctrine of mutually assured destruction.’
    • ‘Although nuclear weapons are not absolutely banned, their use is subject to the normal constraints of international humanitarian law.’
    • ‘Kubrick basically condenses the progress of mankind into a single shot: bone to nuclear weapon.’
    • ‘As I note below, the scheme for stealing the nuclear weapons is exceedingly hokey, and as in the original the story drags at times.’
    • ‘However, this policy was never used in practise - the mere existence of nuclear weapons was sufficient to deter aggression.’
    • ‘But the use of any nuclear weapon, even as a reprisal, would almost certainly cause disproportionate civilian suffering, and thus be illegal under standard, non-utilitarian conceptions of international humanitarian law.’
    • ‘Might the development of such a right prompt potential targets into striking first, to use rather than lose their biological, chemical and nuclear weapons?’
    • ‘They will learn that there is a whole range of military, economic, political, moral, and existential reasons for opposing nuclear weapons.’
    • ‘He supports a complete halt to building new nuclear weapons yet opposes destroying current stocks.’