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

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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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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 Science is still trying to figure out how much nature and nurture affect personality. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 19 July 2021 The other strand of that helix is nature vs. nurture: Will someone turn out differently under alternate circumstances? Angela Watercutter, Wired, 14 July 2021 Rising high above the surrounding desert, the trees and other lush vegetation nurture a rich and diverse animal population including black bears and mountain lions. Joe Yogerst, CNN, 16 June 2021 In addition to reducing heat, trees filter out air pollution, suck up storm water, store carbon, nurture wildlife and even improve people’s mental and physical health. New York Times, 2 July 2021 Like so much involving personality, awkwardness, introversion and anxiety are all determined by a complex blend of nature and nurture. Washington Post, 1 July 2021 As the guardian and the disciplinarian, both signs nurture and build. Gala Mukomolova,, 24 June 2021 But that means that Maluhy has a lot of organic fintech growth to nurture, building on the early success of Itaú’s card processing business Rede. Maria Abreu, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Inviting high-level executives from customer companies to provide strategic advice, product guidance and market intelligence requires a mutual commitment and can take years to nurture, but the rewards are aplenty. Anthony Rotoli, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lauren argues that prisons ought to do more to nurture relationships, noting the huge amount of research indicating that positive relationships can stop prisoners reoffending. Daisy Schofield,, 5 July 2021 The sculpture depicts their mother with three children, reflecting Diana's work to support and nurture children around the world. Maria Pasquini,, 3 July 2021 The bipartisan agreement also would help nurture the market for electric vehicles, improve broadband access, repair water lines and create resilience against damage from extreme weather events. Josh Boak, ajc, 29 June 2021 For a while, the family lived in Oceanside, on the South Shore of Long Island, where my dad, a bookish kid, could nurture his interests in birds and stars. Dan Rockmore, The New Yorker, 20 June 2021 Consonare strives to ensure that community programs nurture all levels of singers. Melanie Savage,, 14 June 2021 There is compounding evidence to suggest that a shorter working week and stronger work-life balance can help nurture our mental wellbeing. Amy Nguyen, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Florida’s coast is dotted with fragile marine sanctuaries and sea grass beds that help nurture the state’s thriving marine and tourism economy. Larry Brand, The Conversation, 8 Apr. 2021 Robinson observed that all these women make individual, often dangerous decisions to protect and nurture a baby, seemingly without the appearance of divine will shaping their actions. Casey Ce, The New Yorker, 7 July 2021

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


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

30 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nurture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for nurture



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



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


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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