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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 Yiddish קערנדל ‎(kerndl), 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).
  11. (slang) The human clitoris.
    • 2014, Karyn Gerrard, Irene Preston, Lotchie Burton et al, Summer Heat: 10 Spicy Romances That Sizzle
      Using the blunt end of one of the vibraphone mallets, he pried open her folds. With the balled end of the other, he rhythmically rolled over her kernel.



Derived terms[edit]


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From English kernel [1]


  • IPA(key): [ˈkɛrnɛl]
  • Hyphenation: ker‧nel


kernel ‎(plural kernelek)

  1. (computing) kernel (the central part of many computer operating systems)


Inflection (stem in -e-, front unrounded harmony)
singular plural
nominative kernel kernelek
accusative kernelt kerneleket
dative kernelnek kerneleknek
instrumental kernellel kernelekkel
causal-final kernelért kernelekért
translative kernellé kernelekké
terminative kernelig kernelekig
essive-formal kernelként kernelekként
inessive kernelben kernelekben
superessive kernelen kerneleken
adessive kernelnél kerneleknél
illative kernelbe kernelekbe
sublative kernelre kernelekre
allative kernelhez kernelekhez
elative kernelből kernelekből
delative kernelről kernelekről
ablative kerneltől kernelektől
Possessive forms of kernel
possessor single possession multiple possessions
1st person sing. kernelem kerneleim
2nd person sing. kerneled kerneleid
3rd person sing. kernele kernelei
1st person plural kernelünk kerneleink
2nd person plural kerneletek kerneleitek
3rd person plural kernelük kerneleik



  1. ^ Tótfalusi István, Idegenszó-tár: Idegen szavak értelmező és etimológiai szótára. Tinta Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 2005, ISBN 963 7094 20 2

Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.



kernel m ‎(oblique plural kerneaus or kerneax or kerniaus or kerniax or kernels, nominative singular kerneaus or kerneax or kerniaus or kerniax or kernels, nominative plural kernel)

  1. crenel (space in a battlement from which weapons may be used on an incoming enemy)



  • (fr) Godefroy, Frédéric, Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siècle (1881) (crenel, supplement)



kernel m (plural kernels)

  1. (computing) kernel (central part of certain operating systems)