\ 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 An active bald eagle nest in Tomball is garnering attention among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts across the north greater Houston region. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Active bald eagle nest in Tomball garners attention," 13 Mar. 2020 Malvo and Muhammad modified the back seat and trunk of a sedan, creating a sniper's nest to carry out the attacks. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "'DC sniper' Lee Boyd Malvo marries while serving life in prison," 11 Mar. 2020 One study found that feeders attracted high numbers of crows, which prey on other birds’ chicks, with the result that less than 1 percent of nearby American robin nests fledged young. Popular Science, "Expert-approved ways to feed all your favorite birds," 8 Mar. 2020 Another group of possums is the ringtails, which reside in communal nests called dreys. National Geographic, "Possums," 6 Mar. 2020 Alba is capable of extensive exploration, skilful foraging, and deft nest building. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Only Known Albino Orangutan Is Doing Great After Her Release to the Wild," 5 Mar. 2020 Radiocarbon dating those nests suggested that the painting is 11,300 to 13,000 years old. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Old wasp nests help us understand old art," 5 Mar. 2020 As the story goes, the rabbit would lay colorful eggs as gifts to children who were good — so the kids would make nests in which the bunny could leave his eggs, and would even sometimes leave out carrots in case the hare got hungry! Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "What Are the Easter Bunny's Origins? Here's the Fascinating History of the Easter Bunny," 4 Mar. 2020 Rock bees, the most commonly found species in Indian cities, nest in buildings and arches instead of tall trees. Kartik Chandramouli, Quartz India, "As bees feel the sting of climate change, here’s a way to let them keep buzzing," 2 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even though Mullion Island is set aside as a sanctuary and people aren’t allowed to visit, human activity is still impacting the birds that nest there. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Why Did Thousands of Rubber Bands Show Up on an Uninhabited Cornish Island?," 24 Oct. 2019 Along with the music, the festival’s focus is in raising awareness on issues related to ocean conservation and research, as well as protection of sea turtles that nest along the Florida coast. Ben Crandell,, "Tortuga Music Festival 2020 tickets, lineup: Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Pitbull," 23 Oct. 2019 The lake is an important nesting ground for gulls, but the recent arrival of a Eurasian bush known as five-horn smotherweed has left little room for nesting. USA TODAY, "Return of Alienstock, Mardi Gras hate crime, much ado about a hat: News from around our 50 states," 19 Feb. 2020 To protect nesting golden eagles, wildlife biologists with the Contra Costa Water District closed six trails in the watershed this week in areas near traditional nesting sites. Tom Stienstra,, "Hawks, eagles on full display at Contra Costa lake," 6 Feb. 2020 Officials said there were only four nesting pairs in Ohio in 1979. Sarah Brookbank,, "Ohio wants to count every bald eagle nest. Here's how to help," 4 Feb. 2020 Although the Justice Department is nested within the executive branch, presidents and attorneys general have traditionally taken great pains to make sure there is no appearance of improper political influence over prosecutorial decisions. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Roger Stone Sentencing Scandal Renews Questions about Attorney General Bill Barr's Independence From Trump," 12 Feb. 2020 Or a bucket of Maldon salt with a ring box nested inside. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "Is It Ever Fake an Engagement for Free Dessert?," 10 Feb. 2020 The budget request, released Monday, calls for creating an entirely new agency nested under the Department of Health and Human Services to regulate tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Kimberly Leonard, Washington Examiner, "Trump calls for ending FDA authority for regulating tobacco," 10 Feb. 2020

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

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 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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