nurture

noun
nur·​ture | \ ˈnər-chər How to pronounce nurture (audio) \

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 How to pronounce nurturing (audio) , 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 How to pronounce nurturer (audio) \ 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

Willibald Ruch, a personality researcher at the University of Zurich, coauthored a 2014 study explicitly investigating the nature versus nurture humor divide. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Would Your Clone Have the Same Sense of Humor?," 9 Apr. 2019 Here, the memory of its prior purpose merges with the promise, mostly metaphorical, of a new function, in support of this stirring show’s assertion that acts of nurture and nationhood, art and humanity are profoundly linked. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead at SoCal museums, July 8-15: 'Solar Reserve' at LACMA and more," 7 July 2018 Where sports icons Roger Penske and George Steinbrenner once marched as students, the Culver Academies are where Irish coach Brian Kelly witnessed assistant coach Harry Hiestand seed, nurture and harvest future NFL first-round linemen. John Fineran, The Seattle Times, "New assistant reshapes Irish offensive line, running game," 7 Aug. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The people who plant, who nurture, who wait for the seeds to grow: the earthy folks who know that things just take time, and who are happy to sit in the sun and wait for the fruit to come up — these are Taurus folks. Jeanna Kadlec, Allure, "The Royal Baby's Birth Chart, as Interpreted by an Astrologer," 6 May 2019 The announced sale of stakes in the country’s two most valuable assets — Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines — could be a boon for foreign investors, not least the cash-flush Chinese who have nurtured close relations with the Ethiopian government. Somini Sengupta, New York Times, "Ethiopia’s New Leader Raises Hopes. Now Comes the Hard Part.," 23 June 2018 His mother, the former Fannie Segal, was a talented pianist who nurtured his musical talents. Bryan Marquard, BostonGlobe.com, "Stanley Cavell, Harvard philosopher who also examined popular culture, dies at 91," 22 June 2018 Forty years to the day after another big chestnut, Secretariat, swept the Belmont by an astonishing 31 lengths, Justify made his own brand of history, as did the humans who nurtured his remarkable gifts. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Justify becomes 13th Triple Crown winner with thrilling Belmont victory," 9 June 2018 Falz's video suggests that, as Nigeria moves forward, its musicians have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to create art that amplifies the state of the nation, and ultimately improves the society that nurtured them. Joey Akan, CNN, "From Chibok Girls to Yahoo Boys, 'This is Nigeria' video is a mirror for the country," 28 May 2018 Their mission is to change the lives of children from families in crisis by loving and nurturing them in a Christian home environment, raising them to become self-sustaining and contributing adults. Houston Chronicle, "HomeAid, Lennar/Village Builders charity project nears completion," 11 Jan. 2018 Technologies nurtured by the OSRD, including radar and the atomic bomb, would... David A. Shaywitz, WSJ, "‘Loonshots’ Review: In Praise of Wild Ideas," 18 Mar. 2019 Nationalism comes more easily to people in this proud former kingdom that has nurtured its distinct identity over centuries. Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, "Bavaria: Affluent, Picturesque — and Angry," 30 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 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

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Statistics for nurture

Last Updated

5 May 2019

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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)

formal : 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 How to pronounce nurture (audio) \

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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