1. A grain or seed, as of a cereal grass, enclosed in a husk.
2. The usually edible seed inside the hard covering of a nut or fruit stone.
a. The central or most important part; the core: "The kernel of his practical religion was that it was respectable, and beneficial to one's business, to be seen going to services" (Sinclair Lewis).
b. A small amount of something, especially when potentially developing into something else: detected a kernel of anger in his remarks.
[Middle English, from Old English cyrnel; see gə-no- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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