\ 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 Information will also be provided on TLGV’s role assisting the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to monitor bald eagle nests and the statewide midwinter eagle survey., "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 11 Nov. 2019 For a more thorough inspection, use a flashlight to look for the tell-tale signs of Christmas tree bugs: bird nest, egg masses, and of course, bugs themselves. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Thousands of Christmas Tree Bugs May Be Living In Your Real Tree — Here's How to Get Rid of Them," 30 Oct. 2019 Beaches are dotted with sea turtle nests and unusual rock formations. Nancy Moreland,, "Old Florida is alive and well in sunny Stuart, where the past won’t be forgotten," 29 Oct. 2019 Hahn's Eve Fletcher is proudly shipping her son off the college when the seven episodes begin, grappling -- for the first time since her divorce -- with an empty nest and the prospect of being truly alone. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Mrs. Fletcher' is a rare coming-of-middle-age story," 25 Oct. 2019 Women act like a nest and carry everybody at one time. 23. Cher, Marie Claire, "Cher Talks Love, Life, and New Fragrance Launch," 24 Oct. 2019 At the recent celebration, residents from Ipswich and other Essex County communities walked the trails of the property, where grassland birds nest and egrets and herons feed in the wetlands., "An Essex County land trust recently celebrated the opening of Castle Neck River Reservation, a 32-acre property in Ipswich.," 23 Oct. 2019 For instance, in 2008, German scientists built a tiny ant motorway in the lab, complete with the equivalent of highway interchanges, so that ants could navigate between their nest and a sugary food source. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: Ants are “immune” to traffic jams," 23 Oct. 2019 Cranes can be quite formidable in defense of nests and young. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "You can hunt sandhill cranes, or you can just stand there and watch them in awe," 1 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That year, 224 bird pairs nested on two of the islands. Priyanka Runwal, New York Times, "A Silicon Valley Disruption for Birds That Gorge on Endangered Fish," 12 Nov. 2019 For the last few years, Guerra has been studying the eating habits of western gulls that nest on Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands in the Channel Islands archipelago. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, "Sea gulls love In-N-Out. But their diet may be changing their Channel Islands home," 22 Oct. 2019 There are three species of sea turtles that nest on South Florida beaches: green turtles, leatherbacks and loggerheads, with the latter being the most common in the region. Johnny Diaz,, "Baby sea turtle found dead in South Florida had 104 pieces of plastic in its body," 4 Oct. 2019 Most red-cockaded woodpeckers will not nest in a tree less than 80 years old, and the longleafs do not grow quickly. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Red-cockaded woodpecker offers link to forests of Alabama’s past," 28 Oct. 2019 Exactly why bald eagles are choosing to nest close to human activity remains a biological mystery. Los Angeles Times, "Bald eagles have found themselves a new home: Suburbia," 19 Sep. 2019 In July, with a few months still left in nesting season, researchers had counted 3,800 loggerhead sea turtle nests in Georgia, smashing the previous record. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: What Hurricane Dorian Means for Georgia’s Record-Breaking Number of Sea Turtle Nests," 4 Sep. 2019 Herring gulls were first spotted nesting on Long Island in 1931, for instance. James Gorman, New York Times, "In Defense of Sea Gulls: They’re Smart, and They Co-Parent, 50/50 All the Way," 26 Aug. 2019 The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may be happily nesting with son Archie, but their royal work is continuing busily. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The New Sussex Royal Foundation Just Announced Its New Name and Staff Members," 18 July 2019

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

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Nest.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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