na·​ture | \ˈnā-chər \

Definition of nature 

1a : the inherent character or basic constitution (see constitution sense 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

2a : 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

7a : 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

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of nature in a Sentence

He devoted himself to the study of nature. That is a color not found in nature. Hunger is nature's way of telling you to eat. Gravity is one of the basic laws of nature. She's very competitive by nature.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And given the movie’s nostalgic nature, the Twittersphere simply cannot wait until next summer to see it. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Everybody Loves The Lion King’s New Teaser Trailer," 23 Nov. 2018 The repetitive nature of lifting also satisfies my need for predictability, as uncertainty fuels my anxiety. Melissa Pandika, SELF, "Lifting Heavy Weights Is My Favorite Way to Help Manage My Anxiety," 16 Nov. 2018 What excites you about this region?Different ways of cooking, and a thousand possibilities for using different ingredients and connecting to nature. Sara Lieberman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Award-Winning Peruvian Chef Pia León on Her New Restaurant, Kjolle," 2 Nov. 2018 There's no word of a wedding date yet, which doesn't come as a shock, considering the private nature of Kravitz and Glusman's relationship. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Zoë Kravitz Has Been Engaged to Actor Karl Glusman Since February," 29 Oct. 2018 The gecko grippers are based on the eponymous animal and are perfectly designed (thanks, nature!) for handling or grasping a smooth surface like glass. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 Taking up jogging might not be a typical reaction to a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis, but that’s how Ronda Carter fell in love with the therapeutic, challenging, and rhythmic nature of putting one foot in front of the other. Serena Solomon, Woman's Day, "Breast Cancer Changed Ronda Carter's Life; Now, She's Doing the Same for Others," 24 Sep. 2018 The crowded nature of the cluster's core means a star would encounter a neighbor about once every 1 million years, during which time the interloper's gravity could easily strip away planets. Nola Taylor Redd,, "Omega Centauri Is a Terrible Place to Look for Habitable Planets," 15 Aug. 2018 And what sort of information can our senses glean about the true nature of reality? Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of nature

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for nature

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

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More Definitions for nature



English Language Learners Definition of nature

: 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


na·​ture | \ˈnā-chər \

Kids Definition of nature

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 : sort entry 1 sense 1, type What is the nature of your problem?

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