\ 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

Fledglings have left the nest and are now feeding with adult birds. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Water-loving coots are longtime familiar sights," 15 Aug. 2019 Viewers young and old can expect the towering character to get permission from Granny Bird to flee the nest and check back in with Elmo and his neighbors via video chat throughout the upcoming season. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, "Mayor Garcetti, who grew up loving the show, declares Sesame Street Day in L.A.," 2 Aug. 2019 To find, remember, and navigate among egg nests and tadpole nurseries in such a complex, changeable landscape requires a brain that can make and revise a mental map of its surroundings. Geetha Iyer, National Geographic, "This surprisingly smart frog makes maps in its mind," 25 July 2019 Perches and 10 nests and wooden houses provide the lodging in this village. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "This Mesa home gives new meaning to ‘bird house’ with a 2-story aviary," 11 July 2019 Artillery, bird’s nest and slime fungus are common. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Weather prime for fungus problems," 28 June 2019 The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 covers all migratory birds, their nests and their eggs, which means that the birds can't be harmed without federal permission. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Proposed legislation could help farmers deal with 'real and costly' vulture attacks," 25 June 2019 There was footage of shorebirds, taken before the crows arrived and learned to raid nests, and footage of the cats that once lived in the rafters of Larry’s boat. Joe Kloc, Harper's magazine, "Lost at Sea," 10 June 2019 The high platform tree house is inspired by a bird or animal nest and provides a wonderful place to retreat and look out through the trees. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Kate Middleton’s Back to Nature Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show Pays Tribute to Princess Diana," 23 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Those early animals evolved into the otters that today splash in Pine Creek and the eagles that nest in the cliffs. Sarah Kaplan,, "Travel science: Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania," 11 Sep. 2019 Point Blue, which has had researchers on the islands off the San Francisco coast continuously since 1968, recorded lower than normal numbers and poor breeding across all 13 species that nest there. Will Houston, The Mercury News, "Poor Farallon Islands bird breeding season prompts alarm," 2 Sep. 2019 Kress said nearly 750 pairs nested on Seal Island and Eastern Egg Rock in 2018, and this year’s number will likely be higher. Patrick Whittle, The Denver Post, "Puffins fill up nesting islands this year despite challenges," 5 Aug. 2019 Without those efforts, an already highly flammable tree will burn more intensely, and an endangered songbird that nests in tamarisk might not have a home. Washington Post, "Tree-eating beetle gains ground in US West, raising concerns," 26 July 2019 The lake is situated out of the flight line of commercial aircraft, the silence of the place broken only by the gulls that nest on the cliffs on the backside of the island. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Swan Lake Fire may have ruined a weekend, but there is relief that it finally happened," 17 July 2019 Lights on shore during nesting season confuse turtles. John Christopher Fine,, "Rejoice as turtles make their return | Opinion," 15 Aug. 2019 These cubes nest into the floor, a bit like Legos, and are made from lightweight, weather-resistant plastic. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Why this vintage-style camper is the future of travel trailers," 14 Aug. 2019 The second purpose of singing is to attract a mate for nesting. David Steadman, The Conversation, "Why do birds sing?," 19 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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Learn More about nest

Dictionary Entries near nest

Nessler tube

Ness, Loch





nest box

Statistics for nest

Last Updated

2 Sep 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

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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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