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(1)   The choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
"The gist of the prosecutor's argument"
"The heart and soul of the Republican Party"
"The nub of the story"
(2)   A single whole grain of a cereal
"A kernel of corn"
(3)   The inner and usually edible part of a seed or grain or nut or fruit stone
"Black walnut kernels are difficult to get out of the shell"


From , diminutive of


  1. The core, center, or essence of an object or system.
  2. The centre (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. The central part of many computer operating systems which manages the system's resources and the communication between hardware and software components.
  5. The stone of certain fruits, such as peaches or plums.
  6. Those elements, in the domain of a function, which the function maps to zero.