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?


nurtured; nurturing\ ˈnərch-​riŋ How to pronounce nurture (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

Other Words from nurture


nurturer \ ˈnər-​chər-​ər How to pronounce nurture (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for nurture

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Did you know?

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 further 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," she wrote. 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The screen industry ecosystem relies heavily on the independent film sector to discover, nurture and sustain talent. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 19 July 2022 This was Ingebrigtsen in full, a mix of speed, showmanship and comfort in the spotlight that begged the question of nature versus nurture. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2022 Blackman says it’s a matter of nature versus nurture, but both Bens are the same at their core. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 24 June 2022 The best way to nurture equity is to put offices and workforce centers in minority-rich areas, the article said. Michael E. Kanell, ajc, 7 July 2022 Retention and nurture campaigns can include personalized offers and communications and be integrated into a loyalty program. John Hall, Forbes, 15 May 2022 Smart employers, or those who want to attract, nurture and retain top talent, are stepping up to provide quality benefits—benefits that extend beyond the usual medical, vision and dental offerings. Ravi Swaminathan, Forbes, 6 July 2022 Help nurture native SoCal plants for restoration projects. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2022 What CEOs want to see is marketing and sales teams working together to build processes that create, nurture, and close buyers and retain and grow them as customers. Forrester, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb We could be focused on our feelings as the Moon spends the day in Cancer, giving us all the urge to nurture ourselves and make sure our needs are being met. Chicago Tribune, 29 June 2022 Taking the focus off of finding a partner can allow people to put that time and energy into friendships, their career, their family, and interests, and nurture them. Katherine Singh,, 18 May 2022 Writing in a journal has been shown to nurture mental health and improve focus and well-being. Laura Jennings, Forbes, 6 June 2022 Some cultures have hit upon sustainable ways to raise and nurture their crops; others very much have not. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 11 July 2022 But many industry insiders believe Apple will use it as a showcase to demonstrate its ability to present, grow and nurture the league. Stephen Battagliostaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2022 Brown is part of a vanguard of American youth who are fed up, betrayed by a generation of leaders who have failed to protect, nurture and grow them. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 13 June 2022 Using a mix of third-party and original content to nurture and grow a content strategy. Joel Goobich, Forbes, 2 Mar. 2021 Employee Resource Groups help nurture a culture at TIME that celebrates community among staff and educates allies. Time, 30 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of nurture


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nurture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for nurture


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


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on nurture

Nglish: Translation of nurture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nurture for Arabic Speakers


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