\ 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

Several environmental organizations have made straw bans a priority lately — raising awareness, nudging celebrities to come out in favor of them, lobbying cities and states to enact them. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "Why Starbucks, Disney, and the EU are all shunning plastic straws," 24 Oct. 2018 Back in the 1990s, when the first wave of digital safety technology debuted, systems like electric stability control were offered on high-line products like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series, often as options nudging $2,000. NBC News, "As the debate over self-driving heats up, automakers load up on driver safety," 31 Mar. 2018 Orchestras in cities our size often coax lazy-eared concertgoers gently into the 20thcentury – let alone the 21st – like drivers nudging reluctant donkeys along a perilous mountain path. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "Get your first look at the next season at Charlotte Symphony," 4 Feb. 2018 Investors will look closely at the ECB’s updated forecasts for growth and inflation, which will be published on Thursday and are likely to be nudged downward. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "ECB Set for a Slow Retreat From Easy Money," 12 Sep. 2018 So, for the next 45 days, NASA engineers will nudge the spacecraft several times a day, rather than the three times a week that had been the procedure. Meghan Bartels,, "NASA Starts 45-Day Clock to Contact Mars Rover Opportunity as Dust Storm Wanes," 12 Sep. 2018 Ortiz nudged his horse up the middle of the track just to the outside of Justify, shaking off Bolt d'Oro and gunning for the lead. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Good Magic runs 'race of his life' as Kentucky Derby 2018 runner-up," 5 May 2018 Boulud nudged them toward Lyon, to a space on Cours Gambetta, and became an investor. Brett Martin, GQ, "Lyon Is the Real Capital of French Food," 12 Mar. 2018 Saccone’s South Korean-immigrant wife, Yong – a flamboyant contrast to her husband with dyed magenta hair and an American flag wrap – nudges him to talk about his Italian immigrant roots. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Can Pennsylvania Democrats crack the code in Trump country?," 12 Mar. 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

13 Feb 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on nudge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nudge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nudge

Spanish Central: Translation of nudge

Nglish: Translation of nudge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nudge for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nudge

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excited commotion or publicity

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