\ˈnəj \
nudged; nudging

Definition of nudge 

transitive verb

1 : to touch or push gently nudged the cue ball with the tip of the cue.— Paul Theroux especially : to seek the attention of by a push of the elbow nudged Ron in the ribs and pointed at Malfoy … — J. K. Rowling

2 : to prod lightly : urge into action … have been nudged into starting their own ventures …— Janet Bamford

3 : approach its circulation is nudging the four million mark— Bennett Cerf

intransitive verb

: to give a nudge She nudged and jostled through the crowd.

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Other Words from nudge

nudge noun
nudger noun

Synonyms for nudge


brush, graze, kiss, shave, skim

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Examples of nudge in a Sentence

I nudged the plate closer to him. The guard nudged the prisoner forward. The dog nudged the ball with his nose. He nudged me and pointed to the deer. The salesman nudged her into testing out the car. Album sales are nudging the one million mark. The price of gold has nudged a little higher.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Smith nudged Justify into the lead approaching the first turn. Tim Layden,, "It's Instinctive to Compare Justify's Triple Crown to American Pharoah's but Both Share Connection to Greatness," 10 June 2018 Its 380 supercharged horses and 332 pound-feet of torque, and a zero-to-60 time of 5.3 seconds, nudges it into thrill-ride territory. Russ Mitchell,, "New wagons from Volvo and Jaguar offer agile alternatives to the lumbering SUV," 25 May 2018 The 2015 Gloria Estefan bio-musical On Your Feet! ran almost two years and grossed $83.5 million, and while that wasn't enough to nudge it into profit, the current tour might bring the production closer to recoupment. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "Michael Jackson Musical in the Works for Broadway," 19 June 2018 She and the poor women imprisoned along with her have been lumped together, watching the red-wedge clock, because their circumstances nudged them into behaviors deemed criminal. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The bold, vivid worlds of Rachel Kushner’s novels," 7 June 2018 And Apple itself is making moves to expand into the digital ad business to bolster its hardware sales, which could nudge it into the same field as the company Cook delights in disparaging. Maya Kosoff, The Hive, "How Silicon Valley’s Petty Feud with Mark Zuckerberg Could Backfire," 5 June 2018 But all these little infractions against dignity only work if there is some monolith of dignity to play off of, some understood standard of behavior being nudged and stretched, but not destroyed. Mick Lasalle, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Three Billboards’ was indulgent and unlikable, wasn’t it?," 14 Mar. 2018 Executives also use buybacks to create temporary additional demand for shares, nudging up the short-term stock price as executives unload equity. Jesse M. Fried And, WSJ, "The Real Problem With Stock Buybacks," 6 July 2018 The government wants to reduce the official corporate work week, hand employees some more free time and encourage side effects such as better health, less stress and, wink-wink, perhaps a chance nudge up one of the world’s lowest birthrates. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "South Korea’s president wants people to work less — and have more children," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nudge.' 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 nudge

1675, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for nudge

origin unknown

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Statistics for nudge

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nudge

The first known use of nudge was in 1675

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More Definitions for nudge



English Language Learners Definition of nudge

: to touch or push (someone or something) gently

: to push (someone) gently with your elbow in order to get that person's attention

: to encourage (someone) to do something


\ˈnəj \
nudged; nudging

Kids Definition of nudge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to touch or push gently The teacher nudged her students back to class.

2 : to attract the attention of by touching or pushing gently (as with the elbow) He nudged me and pointed to the huge cake on the table.



Kids Definition of nudge (Entry 2 of 2)

: a slight push Judy gave Peter a nudge to wake him.— Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji

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Comments on nudge

What made you want to look up nudge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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