nurture

1 of 2

noun

nur·​ture ˈnər-chər How to pronounce nurture (audio)
1
: training, upbringing
With proper focus during early nurture, one can grow into a secure being …Ella Pearson Mitchell
2
: something that nourishes : food
… fed him well, and nourished himself, and took nurture for the road …R. D. Blackmore
3
: the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism
Is our character affected more by nature or by nurture?

nurture

2 of 2

verb

nurtured; nurturing ˈnər-ch(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce nurture (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to supply with nourishment
care for and nurture a baby
2
: educate
nurture kids in clean, colorful rooms with the latest books and learning gadgets.Sue Shellenbarger
3
: to further the development of : foster
nurture his intellectual inclinations.Ray Olson
nurture a friendship
nurturer noun

Did you know?

Which affects a person’s development more, nurture or nature? We can’t answer that question—it’s far outside the lexicographer’s purview—but we can tell you that when nurture was first adopted into the English language in the 14th century it referred, as it does in that question, to training or upbringing, i.e. to the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing. It wasn’t until a century later that the verb nurture settled into the language, first with meanings having to do with feeding and caring for young—meanings nourish had been, er, nurturing for a hundred years. The words come by their overlapping meanings etymologically: both come from the Latin verb nutrire, meaning “to suckle” or “to nourish” (as do the words nutrient, nutritious, nutriment, and nutrition). The figurative use of nurture, meaning “to further the development of,” didn’t arise until the mid-18th century. Mary Wollstonecraft applied it in her 1792 book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, writing, “Public spirit must be nurtured by private virtue.”

Examples of nurture in a Sentence

Noun Members of the family helped in the nurture of the baby. Verb Teachers should nurture their students' creativity. a professor who nurtures any student who shows true interest in history The study looks at the ways parents nurture their children. You have to carefully nurture the vines if you want them to produce good grapes. She nurtured a secret ambition to be a singer. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Under the new agreement, Small World will collaborate with teams from WMG, ADA and Warner Chappell Music to elevate Small World’s artist and songwriter rosters worldwide and discover, nurture and elevate a new generation of African talent. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, 30 Nov. 2023 Venerated in some cultures and feared in others, twins have served as emblems of affinity and rivalry and, for scientists and philosophers, as case studies in the search to understand the power of nature over nurture. Christine Rosen, WSJ, 29 Dec. 2023 Simard-Halm remembers having to withstand the judgment of outsiders, who forced on her the assumption that nature counts more than nurture. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 3 Dec. 2023 These warm, earthy shades nurture and reassure us in times of uncertainty, creating a comforting and harmonious space that’s easy on the eyes. Sophie Flaxman, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Jan. 2024 Remember, an org chart is a living and breathing thing, so prioritize its nurture. Nani Shaffer, Forbes, 9 Mar. 2023 The organization ignites interest, activates potential, and nurtures careers in tech for girls and women of color ages 7-25. Tanay Howard, Parents, 20 Nov. 2023 With carcinogenesis, as with so much in life, the right combination of nature and nurture is required. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2023 Throughout her career, she’s helped nurture and launch careers of stars across genre lines including Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, En Vogue and Travis Scott. Steven J. Horowitz, Variety, 22 Sep. 2023
Verb
The experience of Bronx CSD 7 shows that schools could play an instrumental role in nurturing this force for mental well-being. Faiza Jamil, The Conversation, 16 Feb. 2024 Additionally, nurturing their relationship comes in the form of massages, bike rides, and baths. Akili King, Essence, 14 Feb. 2024 Their insights are crucial in guiding, supporting, and nurturing artistic talent. Vogue, 12 Feb. 2024 Yet that overlooks Stewart’s track record nurturing those who can and have credibly filled his shoes. Brian Lowry, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 His mother provided guidance, his grandparents nurturing and his godmother the organizational skills that came with her job as a longtime educator. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024 An objective of the festival is to nurture potential talent, expose them to the latest creative, technical, and market trends, and foster a network of contacts between new and existing talent through workshops, master classes and knowledge sharing. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 5 Feb. 2024 The trees were living masterpieces, nurtured and cared for like family members. Will McCarthy, The Mercury News, 4 Feb. 2024 With more opportunities to work from home, the possibility for parents to nurture their children's education has greatly changed. Tanay Howard, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nurture.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English norture, nurture, from Anglo-French nureture, from Late Latin nutritura act of nursing, from Latin nutritus, past participle of nutrire to suckle, nourish — more at nourish

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nurture was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near nurture

Cite this Entry

“Nurture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nurture. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

nurture

1 of 2 noun
nur·​ture ˈnər-chər How to pronounce nurture (audio)
1
2
: something that nourishes : food

nurture

2 of 2 verb
nurtured; nurturing ˈnərch-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce nurture (audio)
1
: to supply with nourishment
2
3
: to further the development of : foster

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