\ 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

On Lap 66, Stenhouse nudged the right rear panel of Kyle Busch to set off another chain of crashes. Edgar Thompson,, "First-time winner Erik Jones emerges from wild wreck-filled night at Coke Zero Sugar 400," 8 July 2018 President Trump nudge to pick a woman for the Supreme Court. Fox News, "Scaramucci on Trump's Supreme Court pick, WH staff rumors," 30 June 2018 That nudged Congress into demanding better reliability for the nation’s electricity supply, including more tree trimming. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "History of power outages riles metro Detroiters, DTE promises fixes," 28 June 2018 City Councilman Roger Gaylord III said Aerojet was already committed to cleaning Area 40, but thinks the impending housing development nudged the process along. Kellen Browning And Claire Morgan, sacbee, "Folsom site contaminated by jet fuel to be cleaned up, paving way for park and nearby housing," 25 June 2018 The Dolphins nudged Don Shula into retirement because Jimmy Johnson was available. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Panthers should have gone after championship coach, but here's why they had no interest," 21 June 2018 Significantly, China broke into IFPI's top ten global rankings for the first time, nudging in at number ten. Richard Smirke, Billboard, "IFPI Global Report 2018: Music Sales Rise for Third Straight Year as Streaming Becomes Biggest Revenue Source," 24 Apr. 2018 South Korea’s benchmark Kospi stock index, among other Asian markets, already has been nudged higher on such hopes. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "Trump has decried North Korea’s ‘brutality.’ But will human rights remain high on summit agenda?," 6 June 2018 But times are changing in America, and perhaps the South can be nudged to come along with us. Dahleen Glanton,, "Stacey Abrams shows the art of the possible in winning Democratic nomination for Georgia governor," 23 May 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

11 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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