\ 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
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If plating individually, use the tongs to twirl each portion of pasta into the shape of a bird's nest. CBS News, "The Dish: Lidia Bastianich shares Italian recipes from her "Felidia" cookbook," 18 Jan. 2020 Choose your provider Providers: Restart Free Preview Expires in Sign In A rare photo has emerged of a colony of huntsman spiders living together in nest boxes originally built for pygmy possums. Fox News, "Shocking photo of a colony of huntsman spiders living together found in Australia," 10 Dec. 2019 The Zoo is adding nest boxes, burrows, a 15,000 gallon swimming pool and a landscape that will mimic their natural habitat. James Burky, The Denver Post, "Denver’s favorite penguins are getting a new home," 25 Oct. 2019 The average annual count is 250 nests going back to 1995, when the water district, Watershed Stewards Program, National Park Service and the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network began annual surveys. Peter Fimrite,, "Disappointing numbers for annual coho salmon run in western Marin County," 17 Jan. 2020 The banksia plant, which the bees use for nests, have burned. Anchorage Daily News, "A billion animals might have been caught in Australia’s wildfires. Some could go extinct.," 10 Jan. 2020 The 2019 count might have been slightly down from the year before because heavy spring rains flooded some nests, causing some eggs to be lost. USA TODAY, "Loveland valentines, crime scene towels, corn trail: News from around our 50 states," 9 Jan. 2020 More young adults are also staying with parents, delaying when that empty nest can be offloaded. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Compared to the rest of the nation, Denver homeowners aren’t typical. They’re more like tumbleweeds.," 12 Nov. 2019 The show is interested in Brendan’s father and his new wife, in Eve’s wider circle of empty nest moms, and in the dynamics among the members of a creative writing class Eve takes at the local community college. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "In Mrs. Fletcher, Porn Is the Path to Self-Discovery," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But only in obstetrics are there two interdependent patients, one nested inside the other. Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, "What Was Going Wrong With My Pregnancy?," 24 Jan. 2020 More hotel lobbies and conference centers, many boasting their own food courts and shopping plazas, non-places nested within non-places. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "With a Phone, Are You Ever Really Somewhere?," 16 Jan. 2020 Prendergast said the department just finished a study that examined different cover crops in relation to nesting success. Matt Wyatt,, "Pheasant paradise in Kansas," 2 Jan. 2020 Some 60 goats and sheep from a private farm had been sent to an island on the Vistula River last year to help control its lush grass and shrubbery, which was an obstacle to nesting for river birds. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Owner charged with cruelty over deaths of goats in Warsaw," 1 Oct. 2019 New regulations adopted that year closed hunting during April, May and June, when female turtles are nesting. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana noodling: Inside the Hoosier tradition of catching snapping turtles by hand," 14 July 2019 And the roof, the roof … with gaps where the gutters should be, pigeons nesting in the upper walls, plaster falling off the interior, a likely bastion of mold and rot. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man’s catch-22 case reveals impact of ‘accelerated foreclosure’ in Frogtown and other low-income neighborhoods," 2 Nov. 2019 Lasting Love is out today, a new kind of waking dream nested in a series, each as unbelievable as the next, held within the miracle of my being alive to read it. Caroline Wright,, "After I Was Given a Year to Live, I Wrote This Book for My Sons and Fought Brain Cancer with Love," 20 Aug. 2019 The purple martins that nested in the San Antonio area have assembled and begun their trip to South America for the winter. Calvin Finch,, "How to deal if your lawn’s in excessive shade," 2 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for nest

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for nest

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for nest


How to pronounce nest (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the place where a bird lays its eggs and takes care of its young
: a place where an animal or insect lives and usually lays eggs or takes care of its young
: a home where people live



English Language Learners Definition of nest (Entry 2 of 2)

: to build or live in a nest
: to fit inside each other


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on nest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nest

Spanish Central: Translation of nest

Nglish: Translation of nest for Spanish Speakers

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

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