nurture

noun
nur·​ture | \ˈnər-chər \

Definition of nurture 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

verb
nurtured; nurturing\ˈnərch-​riŋ, ˈnər-​chə-​ \

Definition of nurture (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from nurture

Verb

nurturer \ˈnər-​chər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for nurture

Synonyms: Verb

advance, cultivate, encourage, forward, foster, further, incubate, nourish, nurse, promote

Antonyms: Verb

discourage, frustrate, hinder, inhibit

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Did You Know?

Verb

It's no coincidence that nurture is a synonym of nourish-both are derived from the Latin verb nutrire, meaning "to suckle" or "to nourish." The noun nurture first appeared in English in the 14th century, but the verb didn't arrive until the 15th century. Originally, the verb nurture meant "to feed or nourish." The sense meaning "to promote the development of" didn't come into being until the end of the 18th century. Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, is credited with first giving life to that sense in her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792): "Public spirit must be nurtured by private virtue." Other nutrire descendants in English include nutrient, nutritious, nutriment, nutrition, and, of course, nourishment.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The brothers were presented to the public, and, indeed, at times, presented themselves, as a striking argument for biological determinism, a victory for those who believe in the primacy of nature over the push back of nurture. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Three Identical Strangers' is a riveting account of identical triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 Agreeing on the world's most popular drunk eats can feel like finding common ground on religion, nature versus nurture, and gluten—everyone's got an opinion. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Debatable Encyclopedia of Drunk Food," 1 Oct. 2018 Scientists attribute their longevity to a combination of nature vs. nurture, with the latter the more dominant factor. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Learning From Sardinia, Where Locals Live La Dolce Vita Longer Than Anyone Else," 16 July 2018 The scientific inquiry, masterminded by prominent psychologist Dr. Peter Neubauer and his Child Development Center, set out to answer the fundamental question of nature vs. nurture. Amy Kaufman, latimes.com, "The surreal, sad story behind the acclaimed new doc 'Three Identical Strangers'," 1 July 2018 Vatican officials, however, cautioned against interpreting the pontiff’s pastoral outreach as a definitive ruling on the nature-versus-nurture question or as a change in church teaching. Jason Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "‘God made you this way,’ pope is said to have told gay man," 21 May 2018 Vatican officials, however, cautioned against interpreting the pontiff’s pastoral outreach as a definitive ruling on the nature-versus-nurture question or as a change in church teaching. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "‘God Made You This Way,’ Pope Is Said to Have Told Gay Man," 21 May 2018 The field of behavioral genetics is the branch of science that seeks to answer the complex and often politicized question of nature vs. nurture, by looking at the interplay between genetic markers and human action. Elijah Wolfson, Newsweek, "My Genes Did It!," 5 Mar. 2014 This is an intriguing new twist on a debate that has been raging for centuries concerning the importance of nature versus nurture in behavior. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The clinic markets itself as having a spa-like, nurturing environment where providers offer intensive, personalized treatments. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Crowdfunding raises millions for quack cancer remedies, like coffee enemas," 20 Sep. 2018 Duterte, who has nurtured close ties with China after rising to power in 2016, has not sought immediate Chinese compliance to the landmark ruling but has vowed to discuss the decision with Beijing at some point in his six-year presidency. Fox News, "Duterte pressed to assert 2016 arbitration victory vs China," 12 July 2018 Anderson first moved to Europe in 2013 after rising through the academy at Brazilian side Santon - a club who have also nurtured the likes of Neymar, Robinho and Real Madrid's latest signing Rodrygo Goes. SI.com, "Journalist Claims West Ham Have Agreed Club Record Deal for Lazio Forward Felipe Anderson," 9 July 2018 Twenty-sixteen would prove to be a historic turning point for black storytellers and black viewers alike: There was a noticeable boom in shows that nurtured the soul and soil of black life. Jason Parham, WIRED, "How Oprah’s Network Finally Found Its Voice," 19 June 2018 James Hudnut-Beumler The fascinating reality of these churches is that they’ve always been nurtured by people who are coming from more conservative expressions of faith into them. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Why this shrinking religious group might be among America’s last “swing voters”," 5 Nov. 2018 No one can deny that Musk is a brilliant entrepreneur with an unrivaled ability to create and nurture innovative startups. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla is outgrowing Elon Musk," 29 Sep. 2018 Since moving to Istanbul the midfielder has become renowned for his impressive passing range, something which was nurtured at London Colney. SI.com, "Newcastle Make U-Turn Over Potential Signing With Club Ready to Meet €10m Release Clause," 19 June 2018 Compassion is key to the programs that have been nurtured for the past 50 years by JAS, a nonprofit organization that celebrated its golden anniversary with an April 24 reunion held at the Slidell home of Melanie Lishman. Carol Wolfram, NOLA.com, "Junior Auxiliary of Slidell reunites for golden anniversary," 2 May 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nurture

Noun

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

Verb

see nurture entry 1

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Statistics for nurture

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for nurture

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

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More Definitions for nurture

nurture

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nurture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing

nurture

verb

English Language Learners Definition of nurture (Entry 2 of 2)

: to help (something or someone) to grow, develop, or succeed

: to take care of (someone or something that is growing or developing) by providing food, protection, a place to live, etc.

: to hold (something, such as an idea or a strong feeling) in your mind for a long time

nurture

noun
nur·​ture | \ˈnər-chər \

Kids Definition of nurture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the way a person or animal was raised : upbringing

2 : something (as food) that is essential to healthy growth and development

nurture

verb
nurtured; nurturing

Kids Definition of nurture (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to provide with things (as food and protection) essential to healthy growth and development He was nurtured by loving parents.

2 : to further the development of The teacher nurtured the students' creativity.

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More from Merriam-Webster on nurture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nurture

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nurture

Spanish Central: Translation of nurture

Nglish: Translation of nurture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nurture for Arabic Speakers

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