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

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 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, New York Times, "‘God Made You This Way,’ Pope Is Said to Have Told Gay Man," 21 May 2018 The field of behavioral genetics is the branch of science that seeks to answer the complex and often politicized question of nature vs. nurture, by looking at the interplay between genetic markers and human action. Elijah Wolfson, Newsweek, "My Genes Did It!," 5 Mar. 2014

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Certain life events bring an onslaught of admin, whether happy or sad: nurturing a new baby, say, or caring for an ailing relative. Elizabeth Emens, WSJ, "The Stickiness of ‘Life Admin’," 30 Dec. 2018 For a few years now, Reynolds has been nurturing a faux feud with X-Men star Hugh Jackman, who has played superhero Wolverine in nine movies (with photo and archival appearances as the character in two more—Deadpool and Deadpool 2). Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Ryan Reynolds Falls for a Prank Pulled by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal," 22 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, states with stricter noncompete enforcement, including Washington state, have nurtured thriving high-tech economies of their own in recent decades. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Massachusetts gives workers new protections against noncompete clauses," 21 Aug. 2018 Intuitive, nurturing, and reflective, your feelings vacillate like the phases of the Moon, which happens to have rulership over your sign. Ashley Otero, Teen Vogue, "Who You Should Date, Based on Your Horoscope," 20 Aug. 2018 Mellon also nurtured local craftspeople, who created the handmade clay pots and the rustic wattle fencing, and established a carpentry workshop that could replicate antique furniture. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Inside Tory Burch’s Lovingly Restored Antigua Getaway," 15 Aug. 2018 Trump is not the first president to nurture such instincts; so did Nixon and Andrew Jackson. Rick Hampson, USA TODAY, "Hating McCain: Grant, Ted Kennedy and Nixon got a break at the end. But times change.," 23 May 2018 Arbor Day, coming up on April 27, celebrates our magnificent trees and offers ample opportunities to nurture these marvelous woody perennials. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Towering treasures: Arbor Day beckons us all to dig a hole, plant a tree," 6 Apr. 2018 The 2010 World Cup winner is a driving force behind the growing Common Goal initiative, which sees footballers pledge 1% of their salary to charities using football as a way to nurture development in local communities around the world. SI.com, "6 Players That Consistently Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty," 11 Mar. 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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Last Updated

29 Dec 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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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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