\ ˈnest How to pronounce nest (audio) \

Definition of nest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a bed or receptacle prepared by an animal and especially a bird for its eggs and young
b : a place or specially modified structure serving as an abode of animals and especially of their immature stages an ants' nest
c : a receptacle resembling a bird's nest
2a : a place of rest, retreat, or lodging : home grown children who have left the nest
b : den, hangout
3 : the occupants or frequenters of a nest
4a : a group of similar things a nest of giant mountains— Helen MacInnes
b : hotbed sense 2 a nest of rebellion
5 : a group of objects made to fit close together or one within another
6 : an emplaced group of weapons


nested; nesting; nests

Definition of nest (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to build or occupy a nest : settle in or as if in a nest
2 : to fit compactly together or within one another : embed

transitive verb

1 : to form a nest for
2 : to pack compactly together
3 : to form a hierarchy, series, or sequence of with each member, element, or set contained in or containing the next nested subroutines

Examples of nest in a Sentence

Noun The bird built a nest out of small twigs. If you look closely, you can see a nest in that tree. They lived in a cozy little nest in the suburbs. Verb Robins nested in the tree. She studied the nesting habits of the turtle. The set of four chairs can nest into one stack. The smaller bowl is designed to nest inside the larger one. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Beginning in mid-March, billions of birds fly north to mate, nest and then head back south to warmer climates in mid-August, to do it all again the following year. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 10 May 2022 In Florida — which provides further safeguards — any act against a sea turtle’s nest and eggs is considered a third-degree felony, wielding a penalty of $100 per egg. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 Garland torques the film's feverish atmosphere for maximum impact, the low hum of panic building to a hornet's-nest swarm. Leah Greenblatt,, 9 May 2022 Though flamingos face threats such as habitat loss and nest disturbance, the IUCN states their population trends are increasing. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 May 2022 The nest is monitored with a video camera that captured the fuzzy youngster's dramatic fall. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 1 May 2022 Go with ferns, especially varieties like the bird's nest fern. Brittney Morgan And Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 29 Apr. 2022 But despite their mad nest building skills, weaverbirds have evolved all sorts of different ways to make a living. Grrlscientist, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Every parent has different views on how early their kids should leave the nest and Shaquille O’Neal is voicing his personal preference. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 25 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hummingbirds, dove, finches and sparrows will nest in your garden trees and shrubs, so be careful when pruning or thinning during nesting season. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Apr. 2022 Some martins will nest in single gourds with about a 6-inch square compartment and a 2-inch-diameter entrance hole, but most end up selecting an apartment of that approximate size in a complex of 12 to 24 compartments. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, 4 Mar. 2022 This is no easy feat as birds don't nest at the same sites each year. Katie Hunt, CNN, 27 Sep. 2021 Cooking, for instance, releases millions if not billions of odor molecules, which eventually nest in couches and drapes. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 When not in use, the containers conveniently nest (or stack, with lids on). Malia Griggs, SELF, 11 Jan. 2022 Burrowing owls are the only North American owl species to nest underground and make their homes in tunnels dug by ground squirrels. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2021 Breeding occurs throughout the year, and the grasshopper sparrow might nest upward of three times during a season. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 Some birds stick it out, but many move on and do not nest at all. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of nest


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for nest


Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German nest nest, Latin nidus

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The first known use of nest was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for nest


\ ˈnest How to pronounce nest (audio) \

Kids Definition of nest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a shelter made by an animal and especially a bird for its eggs and young
2 : a place where some animals live and usually lay eggs a termite's nest
3 : a cozy place : home
4 : those living in a nest a nest of robins


nested; nesting

Kids Definition of nest (Entry 2 of 2)

: to build or live in a nest nesting birds


\ ˈnest How to pronounce nest (audio) \

Medical Definition of nest

: an isolated collection or clump of cells in tissue of a different structure a nest of sarcomatous cells

More from Merriam-Webster on nest

Nglish: Translation of nest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nest for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nest


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