\ 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

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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

Iguanas like to dig out nests in yards and next to seawalls, Portuallo says. Doreen Christensen,, "Iguanas are worse than ever and we’re spending big bucks to get rid of them," 21 June 2019 The previous record, set in 2016, is 3,289 loggerhead nests. USA TODAY, "Mural for missing women, ‘Jedi’ cremations, MRI party: News from around our 50 states," 18 June 2019 Local photographer Russell Hons rescued the young eagles Sunday evening after seeing the eaglets on the ground near the spot where the nest had collapsed. Brad Dokken, Twin Cities, "Eaglets rescued from collapsed nest, brought to Raptor Center in St. Paul," 18 June 2019 Rusty patched bumble bees nest in the ground and may be susceptible to pesticides that persist in agricultural soils, lawns and turf. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Minnesota Will Pay Residents to Grow Bee-Friendly Lawns," 17 June 2019 As of last Wednesday, June 12th, 1,779 sea turtle nests have been counted by researchers so far for the 2019 season, a length that can vary year by year. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Georgia Sea Turtles Are on the Rise," 17 June 2019 Musk’s apparent intention to leave Twitter after a decade on the social media service attracted widespread attention largely because his account has turned into a hornet’s nest during the past year. Washington Post, "Is Elon Musk closing troublesome Twitter account or teasing?," 17 June 2019 An oasis all its own, the elegant birdʼs nest master suite is surrounded by nature and features vaulted ceilings, custom windows, en suite bathroom and sophisticated architectural details. Bang Staff And Correspondents, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: Stylish retreat located in the Montclair hills," 17 June 2019 Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission later inspected the nest and declared the eggs unharmed, according to a local Miami TV station. Currie Engel, Time, "Woman Arrested After 'Stomping' On Sea Turtle Nest in Miami Beach," 17 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The World Wildlife Fund estimated there are roughly 1,001 to 10,000 nesting females currently. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Georgia angler reels in rare Kemp's ridley sea turtle," 19 Sep. 2018 These nesting dolls serve as an iconic symbol of Russian culture and tradition. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "Russians in Houston have diverse views on international affairs," 8 July 2018 Beautiful 21-acre site with a half-acre koi pond, stone patios and paths, nesting sandhill cranes, old woods full of wildlife. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Photos: Log cabin in Metamora creates lavish comforts of home," 22 June 2018 There are bald eagles nesting outside our store window, and the sound of crickets and cicadas all summer. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Sunrise Ruffalo, Wife of Actor Mark Ruffalo, Launches a Chic Homewares Pop-Up in Los Angeles," 18 Apr. 2019 Each of his qualifications regarding Brennan’s lunch habits nested neatly into the previous one. Mattathias Schwartz, New York Times, "A Spymaster Steps Out of the Shadows," 27 June 2018 Because the Shed would have to nest into the building, Doctoroff persuaded Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design the tower, a coup for Related, as the architects had not done residential developments in the past. Chloe Malle, Town & Country, "Is the Shed the Defining Arts Institution of a New New York City?," 14 Mar. 2019 Photographers flock to the island for pictures of the puffins, who nest there each year. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Photographers on Skomer Island are crushing puffins to death while trying to take pictures, wardens say," 31 July 2018 The islanders were skilled climbers; their lives depended on it since the meat and eggs of seabirds were their main source of protein, and the birds nested and laid their eggs on precipitous and dangerous terrain. Neel Mukherjee, New York Times, "A Veritable No Man’s Land, Off the Coast of Scotland," 7 May 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

Statistics for nest

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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