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Borrowed from French noyau.


noyau (countable and uncountable, plural noyaus or noyaux)

  1. A French liqueur made at Poissy in north central France from brandy and flavoured with almonds and the pits of apricots. [from 18th c.]
    • 1792, James Boswell, in Danziger & Brady (eds.), Boswell: The Great Biographer (Journals 1789–1795), Yale 1989, p. 178:
      His coffee was excellent, and then came a case of liqueurs, noyau both white and red, etc.
  2. (ethology, countable) A small nucleus or core group of people or animals. [from 20th c.]
    • 1966 August 26, Richard Ardrey, “Strongest Bond of All - The Space We Own”, in LIFE, page 58:
      Borders are violated by hungering males and famished females, and the ordered animosities of the noyau give way to a saturnalia of sexual adventure.
    • 1999, Ronald M. Nowak, Walker's Primates of the World, JHU Press, →ISBN, page 27:
      The orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) also exhibits the noyau system and appears to be the only diurnal primate with a largely solitary lifestyle.
    • 2000, Sergio M. Pellis, Andrew N. Iwaniuk, “Adult-Adult Play in Primates: Comparative Analyses of Its Origin, Distribution and Evolution”, in Ethology, 106, page 1089:
      This "noyau" pattern is found among various nocturnal strepsirrhines.




Backformed from Old French noyaus, plural of noyal, from Late Latin nucālis, from Latin nux.


  • IPA(key): /
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -jo


noyau m (plural noyaux)

  1. stone (of a fruit), pit (of a fruit)
  2. group (of artists etc.); cell (of terrorists etc.)
  3. (geology) core
  4. (biology, physics) nucleus
  5. (computing) kernel
  6. (phonetics, phonology) nucleus of a syllable
    Antonyms: attaque, coda

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