\ˈnest \

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

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Examples of nest in a Sentence


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.


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

Como, the once maniacal, me-hating escape artist, settled into a serene and even affectionate middle age, his morning bed visits and metronomic tail wags for food and walks and nightly treats a steady backbeat to our empty-nest life. Steven Winn,, "A loving family remembers the zeitgeist of Como the dog," 2 July 2018 Actor Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl, a jewelry designer, are preparing for the next chapter in their empty-nest lives. Neal J. Leitereg,, "'West Wing' star Rob Lowe seeks $47 million for empty nest in Montecito," 30 June 2018 Pistachio triangles had the perfect rich flaky, honeyed (but not overwhelmingly saccharine) balance; bird’s nests, made with crunchy-crisp shredded filo, were even better. Kate Washington, sacbee, "Halal cuisine has blossomed around Sacramento. Here's a rundown of places to check out," 29 June 2018 In bumblebee colonies, sterile female offspring forage, bring in food for the nest, clean and help rear the brood. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Bumblebees Thrive in the City but Struggle on the Farm," 27 June 2018 Bald eagles in Southcentral Alaska nest near water, in old cottonwood trees, according to Fish and Game. Laurel Andrews, Anchorage Daily News, "Feds seek public’s help after bald eagle nests destroyed on Kenai Peninsula," 9 June 2018 And there are different stories in mothering young babies or children age zero to 3 than there are in how to raise young children or adolescents, and then also emerging adults, and then the empty-nest experience. Erin Zimmerman, The Cut, "The Identity Transformation of Becoming a Mom," 25 May 2018 As Stewart squeezed into the cramped space and reached into the nest, something strafed the human invaders. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "For baby raptors, cuddly names may not fly — UC seeks suggestions," 24 May 2018 Then Woodfill took on a German machine gun nest, systematically killing six enemy soldiers as his unit charged forward. Ray Locker, USA TODAY, "Gripping 'The Unknowns' follows WWI heroes who buried the Unknown Soldier," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook are also completely closed to the public throughout the summer to protect key bird nesting sites., "Brutal Heat Ahead, But Bacteria Could Close Four State Beaches This Weekend," 29 June 2018 Liberty and Justice have been nesting at the police academy spot for 11 years. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "It all starts with a ‘pip’: Bald eagle egg starts to hatch.," 30 Apr. 2018 In 1977, bald eagles nested in eight of the state’s 58 counties. Adam Popescu, New York Times, "‘These Eagles Are More Than Just a Symbol’," 20 Mar. 2018 There was still limited evidence for his argument, but Horner’s research in the late ’70s helped validate Ostrom’s findings when his team uncovered the remains of baby dinosaur nesting grounds in Montana. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The Real Scientific History Behind the Jurassic Park Dinosaurs," 22 June 2018 The thefts occurred in the Hybernia subdivision in northwest Highland Park, where residents had been watching the nesting swans for the past six weeks. Karen Berkowitz,, "Apparent theft of day-old baby swans angers Highland Park neighbors," 5 June 2018 Bald eagles have started nesting again in numbers not seen in decades. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Connecticut Audubon Hosts Migration Madness Weekend," 29 May 2018 That snail kites turned up nesting so far north in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park – about 90 miles northwest of Orlando – has been a sensation for birdwatchers and biologists. Kevin Spear,, "Florida's high waters are boon for snail kites and manatees," 6 July 2018 The islands are chosen after an evaluation by biologists to guarantee that no birds are nesting. Washington Post, "The unlikely treasure off Peru’s coast," 21 June 2018

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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Learn More about nest

Dictionary Entries near nest

Nessler tube

Ness, Loch





nest box

Phrases Related to nest

leave/flee the nest

Statistics for nest

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nest

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

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More Definitions for nest



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 \

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 \

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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Comments on nest

What made you want to look up nest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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