noun na·ture \ ˈnā-chər \
|Updated on: 11 Aug 2018

Definition of nature

1 a : the inherent character or basic constitution (see constitution 2) of a person or thing : essence
  • the nature of the controversy
b : disposition, temperament
  • it was his nature to look after others
  • —F. A. Swinnerton
  • her romantic nature
2 a : a creative and controlling force in the universe
b : an inner force (such as instinct, appetite, desire) or the sum of such forces in an individual
3 : a kind or class usually distinguished by fundamental or essential characteristics
  • documents of a confidential nature
  • acts of a ceremonial nature
4 : the physical constitution or drives of an organism; especially : an excretory organ or function used in phrases like the call of nature
5 : a spontaneous attitude (as of generosity)
6 : the external world in its entirety
7 a : humankind's original or natural condition
b : a simplified mode of life resembling this condition
  • escape from civilization and get back to nature
8 : the genetically controlled qualities of an organism
  • nature … modified by nurture
  • —E. G. Conklin
9 : natural scenery
  • enjoyed the beauties of nature

Examples of nature in a Sentence

  1. He devoted himself to the study of nature.

  2. That is a color not found in nature.

  3. Hunger is nature's way of telling you to eat.

  4. Gravity is one of the basic laws of nature.

  5. She's very competitive by nature.

Recent Examples of nature from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nature.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of nature

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin natura, from natus, past participle of nasci to be born — more at nation

Synonym Discussion of nature

type, kind, sort, nature, description, character mean a number of individuals thought of as a group because of a common quality or qualities. type may suggest strong and clearly marked similarity throughout the items included so that each is typical of the group.
    • one of three basic body types
kind may suggest natural grouping.
    • a zoo seemingly having animals of every kind
sort often suggests some disparagement.
    • the sort of newspaper dealing in sensational stories
nature may imply inherent, essential resemblance rather than obvious or superficial likenesses.
    • two problems of a similar nature
description implies a group marked by agreement in all details belonging to a type as described or defined.
    • not all acts of that description are actually illegal
character implies a group marked by distinctive likenesses peculiar to the type.
    • research on the subject so far has been of an elementary character

NATURE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of nature for English Language Learners

  • : the physical world and everything in it (such as plants, animals, mountains, oceans, stars, etc.) that is not made by people

  • : the natural forces that control what happens in the world

  • : the way that a person or animal behaves : the character or personality of a person or animal

NATURE Defined for Kids


noun na·ture \ ˈnā-chər \

Definition of nature for Students

1 : the physical world and everything in it
  • It is one of the most beautiful creatures found in nature.
2 : natural scenery or surroundings
  • We took a hike to enjoy nature.
3 : the basic character of a person or thing
  • Scientists studied the nature of the new substance.
4 : natural feelings : disposition, temperament
  • She has a generous nature.
5 : 1sort 1, type
  • What is the nature of your problem?

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excessive admiration or flattery

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