\ 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

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 There was a time when this was the story of almost every osprey nest. Alexander Aciman, The New Yorker, "The Joy of Watching the Ospreys Return," 5 Apr. 2021 But first consider the legal and ethical hornet’s nest. Courtney Shea,, "Why You May Need A Vaccine Passport For Your Next Haircut," 1 Apr. 2021 Send my daughter back to campus in Iowa City and enjoy some empty-nest time! Star Tribune Staff, Star Tribune, "What are you going to do when the pandemic is over? These Minnesotans know," 30 Mar. 2021 Parents suddenly find themselves with an empty nest, relinquishing their parenting duties to the school staff. New York Times, "The Boarding-School Boom," 29 Mar. 2021 That said, certain activities are prohibited within 656 feet of an occupied nest, including habitat alteration and significant visual or noise disturbance. Julia Musto, Fox News, "Endangered California bird to be reintroduced to skies for first time in nearly 100 years," 28 Mar. 2021 Now the California Coastal Commission has sided with snowy plovers and least terns that nest on the Central California beach. Los Angeles Times, "Why you should spy on lizards having sex," 25 Mar. 2021 What causes some ants to live twice as long as nest mates that have exactly the same genome? Yao-hua Law, Science | AAAS, "What can ants, bees, and other social insects teach us about aging?," 25 Mar. 2021 In 2020, 38 nest sites produced 116 young — an increase of 5% over 2019, according to FalconWatch, an annual report produced by Septon. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The first peregrine falcon eggs of the season in We Energies nesting boxes are here," 23 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But keep a close eye on it; insects and mice may try to nest in the space between the guard and the tree. Monica Cardoza, Better Homes & Gardens, "Money Almost Grows on Trees—When You Plant Them in Your Yard," 1 Mar. 2021 Rock climbers may be disappointed, but bird watchers certainly won’t — Zion National Park has closed several climbing routes on cliffs where peregrine falcons often nest. Rebekah Wahlberg, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Zion National Park closes climbing routes where falcons often nest," 1 Mar. 2021 When you’re done mixing, throw them in the dishwasher and then nest them for easy storage. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "Sick of cooking? These meal delivery services will keep you eating well," 1 Jan. 2021 Glacial retreat has exposed new land for these seabirds, which do not nest on ice and prefer to moult their feathers in freshwater streams. Thomas Page, CNN, "Is an iceberg weighing hundreds of billions of tons on a penguin collision course?," 11 Dec. 2020 Hornbills must nest in cavities, and for five of the past seven years, the same pair of helmeted hornbills has nested in the hole in the meranti tree, producing a chick each year. Yao-hua Law, The Atlantic, "Helmeted Hornbills Are Very Picky About Their Nests," 16 Dec. 2020 The birds readily nest in boxes in the wild and have striking plumage that seems ideal for testing ideas about the evolutionary point of the ornamentation. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, "Psychology’s replication crisis inspires ecologists to push for more reliable research," 9 Dec. 2020 The birds generally nest in colonies along beaches, with the largest colony in Florida residing on Marco Island. Karl Schneider, USA TODAY, "Over 100 young seabirds got sick or died in Florida this summer from a mystery illness. Officials now know what it was.," 5 Dec. 2020 Something old and deeply rooted, here before Him, and providing a canopy under which newer faiths might nest. Matthew Sweet, The Economist, "The secret economics of Christmas adverts, unwrapped," 4 Dec. 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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on nest

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