na·​ture | \ ˈnā-chər How to pronounce nature (audio) \

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 The soil in South Sudan's Eastern Equatoria has a sandy nature that allows the locusts to lay eggs easily, said Meshack Malo, country representative with the FAO. Fox News, "Locust outbreak devastating East Africa hits South Sudan," 19 Feb. 2020 But their efforts are undercut by the gimmicky nature of the proceedings, which too often feel like the theatrical equivalent of vigorously attempting to solve a Rubik's Cube. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Anatomy of a Suicide': Theater Review," 19 Feb. 2020 Suffice to say, the humans in Snowpiercer could not be more walled off from nature. Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "Fish monsters, barking dogs, and roach patties: The films of Bong Joon-ho," 16 Feb. 2020 The nature of the city's investigation into Fuller was not disclosed. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Scottsdale fires City Prosecutor Shawn Fuller," 15 Feb. 2020 Funny Birthday Instagram Captions Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "50 Best Birthday Captions for Instagram That Really Take the Cake," 14 Feb. 2020 Brownfield No More: Old Galveston drilling site reborn as nature preserve A cleanup hampered by heavy rains recovered just 42,000 gallons of oil. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Decades after oil spill, Barnett Shale lake deemed safe," 21 Feb. 2020 Property damage: Brigham Road A resident reported Feb. 10 that an unknown vehicle lost control a few days earlier and drove onto his property and caused minor property damage of an unspecified nature. cleveland, "Suspicious home visitor found to be dropping off Valentine’s flowers: Gates Mills Police Blotter," 21 Feb. 2020 The three movements, based on Handel’s Messiah, represent the cycle of human error and the nature cycle. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, "Devastation hits close to home in 'Dust Bowl,’ a warning from Dallas’ Verdigris Ensemble that it could happen again," 21 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for nature

Time Traveler

The first known use of nature was in the 14th century

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Statistics for nature

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for nature


How to pronounce nature (audio)

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 How to pronounce nature (audio) \

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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