from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A worldwide darkening and cooling of the atmosphere with consequent devastation of surviving life forms, believed by some scientists to be a probable outcome of large-scale nuclear war.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A predicted drop in global temperature following a nuclear war due to dust in the upper atmosphere reducing sunlight reaching the ground.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. a hypothetical lowering of global temperature postulated as the aftermath of a full nuclear war. The mechanism of such an effect depends primarily on the injection into the atmosphere of small solid particles, as soot from burning forests, which reflect sunlight and cause a reduction in solar energy retained by the earth.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a long period of darkness and extreme cold that scientists predict would follow a full-scale nuclear war; a layer of dust and smoke in the atmosphere would cover the earth and block the rays of the sun; most living organisms would perish
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Meanwhile, ponder this: when the Big Mistake finally happens and some computer pushes its own button, uncorking the Ultimate Detergent and putting us all through the Rinse and Burn cycle, when the accumulated weaponry of forty years of stockpiling gets launched just to scratch someone's itch to see if it will work, when the mushroom clouds have withered and the nuclear winter has grayed to nuclear spring ... well, ask yourself: Self, what institution in the U.S. of A. has the infrastructure to withstand such a boot in the anthill?