From Latin nū̆cleus, a contraction of the adjective nuculeus, masculine of feminine nuculea from nucula + adjectival suffix -eus, -ea, -eum. The Latin nucula + -āris adds up to nuculāris, a term that in English becomes nucular; the Latin nuculea + -āris, becomes Latin nuculeāris, later contracted into nuclear. Compare muscle and Latin mūsculus; muscular and mūsculāris.
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