I was thinking that the adjective "nuclear" meant "armed with nuclear weapon", but while it's true, we can't distinguish it from "powered with nuclear fuel", which is what a nuclear submarine is, so is there an adjective specifically for this?

Let's take the following example to make the problem more apparent:

The nuclear submarine was armed with nukes, so it was also a ___ submarine.

1 Answer 1


"Nuclear-armed" seems like the best fit for that sentence, since "nuclear" is often used to mean "uses nuclear technology" (eg. nuclear bomb, nuclear reactor, nuclear submarine). "Nuclear-armed" would be taken to mean "armed with a nuclear weapon" in this context rather than "armed with nuclear technology" or "powered with nuclear fuel".

Edit: One complication is the phrase "nuclear state" which is sometimes used to mean "state armed with a nuclear weapon". However, nuclear-armed seems to be the more common adjective.

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