\ 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

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 The turtle originally came from a nest in West Barnstable that researchers determined was in a hazardous location and needed to be moved. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 15 Oct. 2021 The hatchling — a diamondback terrapin born from a nest in West Barnstable — has two heads and six legs, making the reptile, whose species is already threatened, that much rarer. Ashley Boucher,, 12 Oct. 2021 Currently, American robins are involved in nest building. Jim Gilbert, Star Tribune, 29 Apr. 2021 On a recent Monday morning, Lipman set up his camera to film the owlets sitting on a eucalyptus tree away from the nest. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Apr. 2021 In reality, the narrative was more ordinary and the jackdaw was pinching hair from the deer’s back to use in nest building. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 4 Apr. 2021 Harvester ant colonies can live for 30 or 40 years and, when possible, Tschinkel waits for a colony to move to a new nest before making a cast, to avoid killing the inhabitants. Greg Miller, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Dec. 2021 Long before the pandemic, young adults were already returning to the nest at increasing rates. Ginny Hogan, The Atlantic, 15 Nov. 2021 The town of Kiawah Island said its last nest was counted Oct. 10. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 30 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When not in use, the containers conveniently nest (or stack, with lids on). Malia Griggs, SELF, 11 Jan. 2022 Burrowing owls are the only North American owl species to nest underground and make their homes in tunnels dug by ground squirrels. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2021 Breeding occurs throughout the year, and the grasshopper sparrow might nest upward of three times during a season. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 Some birds stick it out, but many move on and do not nest at all. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2021 Now the windmill is gone, the building is fenced off and the only families around are the broods of gulls, who nest on the roof and streak neighbors with guano., 30 July 2021 Volunteers spend the fall preparing two manmade islands — North Tern Island and South Tern Island — taking on vegetation management projects so the birds can nest, Loebl said. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2021 Bring hands together and nest one corner inside the other, flipping the outer one so the right side now faces out. Marni Jameson,, 13 Aug. 2021 Experts believe the birds were able to nest on the beach because human access to the sand was restricted by COVID-19 lockdowns. Lisa J. Huriash,, 5 July 2021

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

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on nest

Nglish: Translation of nest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nest for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nest


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