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

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 In the meantime, volunteers like Moore grow plants to feed and host the monarchs, nurture caterpillars, and tag and count monarchs on the insects’ annual migrations through United States. Washington Post, "As monarch butterfly struggles, the government weakens possible protections," 15 Aug. 2019 The plotline unambiguously sides with a nurture, as opposed to nature, reading of human failings. Washington Post, "‘Concrete Genie’: A kid’s game about the agonies of bullying and the joys of art," 10 Oct. 2019 In the meantime, volunteers like Moore grow plants to feed and host the monarchs, nurture caterpillars, and tag and count monarchs on the insects' annual migrations up and down America. Ellen Knickmeyer, baltimoresun.com, "The plight of the monarchs: Trump order weakens protections for butterflies in Maryland, elsewhere," 14 Aug. 2019 When the king belatedly attempts to test the prediction by releasing the adult prince, all hell breaks loose — but is nature or nurture at fault? Washington Post, "In GALA’s ‘Life Is a Dream,’ freewheeling ideas but stiff storytelling," 15 Sep. 2019 The peoples of the world have seen the movement of globalization nurture in them this common dream of seeing the Earth become a genuine global village. Washington Post, "They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words," 25 Sep. 2019 The peoples of the world have seen the movement of globalization nurture in them this common dream of seeing the Earth become a genuine global village. San Diego Union-Tribune, "They said it: Leaders at the UN, in their own words," 25 Sep. 2019 This Child's Play does add an interesting nature versus nurture argument, with Chucky learning much of his murderous nature from TV and bullies — could these dolls be taught to be good? Rosie Knight, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Child's Play' Sets Up a Sci-Fi Sequel," 22 June 2019 Though often pitted against each other as nature versus nurture, biology and experience are actually deeply entwined, and music provides a scientifically revealing intersection of the two. Quanta Magazine, "Perceptions of Musical Octaves Are Learned, Not Wired in the Brain," 30 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb It was conceived, nurtured, and brought to fruition by one man, Ferdinand Piëch. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1982 Audi Quattro," 22 May 2020 Somebody might have ability, or even a calling to the language of music, but if that isn’t nurtured, Amanda, then it can get stunted. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Tori Amos Believes the Muses Can Help," 26 Apr. 2020 Dreams are fraught and fragile things, but Herrera knows just how to honor them; her work both nurtures and exposes the exquisite pain and triumphant glory of such dreams. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hot Stuff: New romances provide welcome balm for stressful times," 3 Apr. 2020 Stand-alone stores with a singular point of view are often the key to finding and nurturing new talent. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Should We Still Go Shopping (Online)?," 26 Mar. 2020 The Wolverines have constantly said that Howard is a players' coach, an encouraging, nurturing presence who is dedicated to bringing out the best in each individual. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's Brandon Johns brings the energy, has breakout game vs. Iowa," 7 Dec. 2019 And so once you were based in the U.S. and then went off to college and started traveling and nurturing your own talent as an adult and having all these new experiences, which also meant travel. Condé Nast Traveler, "How Author Dina Nayeri's Refugee Experience Shaped the Way She Travels: Women Who Travel Podcast," 5 Nov. 2019 Betty is remembered as a nurturing mother, Nanna, and great-Nanna, who dearly loved her large Irish Catholic family. courant.com, "Elizabeth L. Hughes," 29 Oct. 2019 Earlier Monday, family members described Jefferson as a smart, nurturing woman who recently moved in with her mother to help care for her in her declining health. Jake Bleiberg, The Denver Post, "Fort Worth cop resigns after fatally shooting black woman in her home," 14 Oct. 2019

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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Learn More about nurture

Time Traveler for nurture

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

6 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nurture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nurture. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for nurture

nurture

noun
How to pronounce nurture (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nurture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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