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

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 Unfortunately, the book’s own divisions between body versus brain, and nature versus nurture, reinforce the very dualisms that Jasanoff indicts. Lisa Feldman Barrett, New York Times, "How Elastic Is Your Brain?," 25 June 2018 In some ways, its true subject isn’t nature or nurture but the simple reality of time and its refusal to heal all wounds. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Three Identical Strangers' is a riveting account of identical triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 Three Identical Strangers tells one of the most singularly fascinating and devastating stories about brotherhood, the nature vs. nurture debate, and powerful people with God complexes interfering with the lives of others. refinery29.com, "The Extremely Dark Side To The Buzzy Documentary Three Identical Strangers," 28 June 2018 This documentary explores ideas of nurture versus nature and also plumbs the mystery of how the triplets were placed in adoptive homes without them or their parents knowing. Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Boots Riley’s and Daveed Diggs’ Oakland films lead alternative summer list," 27 Apr. 2018 This study implies that nature and nurture are not as independent as may have been been imagined, and that nature is not as immutable as once thought. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA," 10 July 2018 Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "He lived like every day might be his last, and then one day it was," 2 Apr. 2018 McGregor’s teenage virtuosity invokes the age-old question that still bedevils 21st century parents: Is such a one-of-a-kind talent the result of nature or nurture? Kathy Boccella, Philly.com, "Malvern teen a bass prodigy who started at age 2. He's also baseball card entrepreneur," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The victory was the first Cup win for Jones, a Joe Gibbs Racing driver nurtured by Toyota’s motorsports program and one of the leading representatives of the young group of drivers expected to gain traction over the next few years. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "Erik Jones scores first career NASCAR Cup win in wreck fest at Daytona," 7 July 2018 Party leaders have nurtured hopes that the compromise version could pass, but Mr. Trump's backing would be crucial. CBS News, "White House says Trump supports "moderate" GOP immigration bill after confusion," 16 June 2018 This relationship of trust that has been nurtured over decades between humans and bears may be unique in the world. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, "Op-Ed: Alaska’s Pebble Mine Somehow Just Got Worse," 11 June 2018 Part of its design is to put children in homes that are caring, loving, and have the desire and means to provide a safe, nurturing home. Graham Lee Brewer, Teen Vogue, "Oklahoma Passes Law Allowing Private Foster Care System to Reject Same-Sex Couples," 15 May 2018 Many cities have nurtured book clubs and literacy initiatives to build and bind communities. Christopher Johnston, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cleveland uses literature to empower youth, overcome social divides," 9 July 2018 Germany and China have nurtured a symbiotic relationship for years. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "German and Chinese Leaders Hail Rules-Based Trade System, With Eye to U.S.," 9 July 2018 Inside the courtroom, on the streets, and in communities where people have built networks of survival out of nothing, movements have been born, nurtured, and passed on. Chase Strangio, Teen Vogue, "The Supreme Court Has Long Been a Tool of Oppression," 3 July 2018 That love of the law was nurtured early in Anthony McLeod Kennedy's life. Born in 1936 in Sacramento, his father was a well-respected, well-connected, and popular local attorney. Bill Mears, Fox News, "Anthony Kennedy: Swing justice wielded quiet power in a range of high-profile cases," 27 June 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

6 Oct 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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