\ 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

Teenagers test the waters of independence by flying farther and farther away from the nest, developing their own identities and honing their craft as professional liars. Illyanna Maisonet,, "Bacalaitos as familial memory and penance," 5 July 2018 Trappers tear down the trees to pluck babies from nests or put out wooden sticks covered with glue to ensnare adults en masse. National Geographic, "This Popular Parrot 'Talks' Like Us. But We're Silencing It.," 21 May 2018 Couling and his group actually were trying to stay away from a goose nest near the seventh hole. Chuck Schilken,, "High school golfer gets upended by an attacking goose, 'but I did par that hole'," 24 Apr. 2018 Twiggy’s story began in 1978 when Chuck and Lou Ann Best of Florida rescued a squirrel displaced from her nest due to Hurricane David. Omar Abdel-baqui, Detroit Free Press, "Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel to appear at Detroit Boat Show at Cobo," 15 Feb. 2018 Later that month, law enforcement officials saw Cobb and Saunders remove 469 sea turtle eggs from nests on North Hutchinson Island. Lisa J. Huriash,, "Turtle-egg thefts leads to prison time for two men," 31 Jan. 2018 If pruning out the nests removes too much of a small plant, manually pulling it out would be better. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: Be wary of the 'bathtub effect'," 12 July 2018 In theory, the new moon is a chance to kick back and relax, to nest, to get back in touch with yourself and your body, to reflect and craft grand plans for future successes., "What It Means If Your New Moon Is Decidedly Not Chill," 12 July 2018 Mulch piled up against woody stems of shrubs and trees can also cause rot and encourages rodents (such as voles and mice) to nest there. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Mulch Your Garden and Stop Weeds in Their Tracks," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Western bluebirds, in contrast, nested at sites along the full noise gradient. Amy Mathews Amos, Scientific American, "Oil- and Gas-Drilling Noise Stresses Birds," 1 Apr. 2018 But Schampel's attack at the lakeshore suggests the birds may be nesting — and attacking — in other areas. Anna Groves, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Angry birds: Watch out for red-winged blackbird attacks this time of year," 29 June 2018 Bald Eagles have nested at the Sandy Ridge Reservation since 2002, building three separate nests over the years. James F. Mccarty,, "Ohio bald eagle duel ends in death of mother, chick as birders watch in horror," 23 Apr. 2018 The life of Natalie Wood is like a Russian matryonshka doll, a set of wooden dolls nesting in one another. Nancy Bilyeau, Town & Country, "What Really Happened to Natalie Wood?," 29 Nov. 2018 On my '90s bike, the axle itself nested in a notch machined into the frame. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How bicycles have changed in the last 25 years," 10 Nov. 2018 The dishwasher- and microwave-safe wares nest together to save space. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Best kitchen accessories under $150 to shop now," 20 Aug. 2018 The pair of adult eagles began nesting near the top of a 65-foot-high tree outside White's house in 2013. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "Webster man uses video camera, Facebook to share joy of backyard eaglets," 24 Jan. 2018 Researchers suggest a generation of sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef were born mostly female because they were nested in warmer areas, raising concerns global warming might threaten the species. Sean Rossman, USA TODAY, "99% of these sea turtles were born girls. Is global warming to blame?," 9 Jan. 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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Dictionary Entries near nest

Nessler tube

Ness, Loch





nest box

Statistics for nest

Last Updated

4 Feb 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 \

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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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

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).


to deny responsibility for

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