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From Middle English kernel, kirnel, kürnel, from Old English cyrnel, from Proto-Germanic *kurnilaz, diminutive of *kurną (seed, grain, corn), equivalent to corn +‎ -le. Cognate with Middle Dutch kernel, cornel, Middle High German kornel. Related also to Old Norse kjarni (kernel).



kernel (plural kernels)

  1. The core, center, or essence of an object or system.
    the kernel of an argument
  2. The central (usually edible) part of a nut, especially once the hard shell has been removed.
  3. A single seed or grain, especially of corn or wheat.
  4. (US) The stone of certain fruits, such as peaches or plums.
  5. A small mass around which other matter is concreted; a nucleus; a concretion or hard lump in the flesh.
  6. (computing) The central part of many computer operating systems which manages the system's resources and the communication between hardware and software components.
  7. (calculus) A function used to define an integral transform.
    The Dirichlet kernel convolved with a function yields its Fourier series approximation.
  8. (mathematics) A set of pairs of a mapping's domain which are mapped to the same value.
  9. (mathematics, algebra) Those elements, in the domain of a function, which the function maps to zero.
    If a function is continuous then its kernel is a closed set.
  10. (mathematics, fuzzy set theory) The set of members of a fuzzy set that are fully included (i.e., whose grade of membership is 1).



Derived terms[edit]


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