English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What does nukulate mean in the following sentence from a question on Cooking SE?

Nukulate for 3 minutes on high.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

To nuke is to microwave. Nukulate is probably a more informal variant.

share|improve this answer
No wonder I can't find it in the dictionary. – Jack Nov 15 '12 at 1:33
You think that nuculate is more informal than nuke? Nuke is already extremely informal. This is on a different axis, perhaps. Maybe nuculate is just a playful, tongue-in-cheekier kind of pseudo-formal formulation. – tchrist Nov 15 '12 at 1:39
@tchrist: To nuke (from nuclear bomb) has been around since the late 50s, so it's reasonably well established, if a little informal. Most likely this neologism is (facetiously or ignorantly) "backformed" from nuke. Thus it lacks both the status of age and of respectable parentage - sounds like "a more informal variant" to me. – FumbleFingers Nov 15 '12 at 2:07
Interestingly enough, the word nucleate is also associated with microwave ovens. (If you are heating water in a container (such as a new, smooth cup) that does not provide a sufficient environment to allow nucleation to occur, the water may become superheated and erupt and boil over when you pick the cup up. – Jay Elston Nov 15 '12 at 2:14
I'm guessing it's an informal variant formed by a portmanteau of nuke + percolate. – J.R. Nov 15 '12 at 4:06

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.