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

Because of both nature and nurture, some children are slower to become empathic than others. Meghan Leahy, Washington Post, "How much empathy can I expect from a 5-year-old?," 12 June 2019 In the argument about which is primary, nature or nurture, the former receives an emphatic affirmation from the Founding Fathers’ philosophy. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Is the individual obsolete?," 17 July 2019 Each claims to remove leg hair and nurture leg skin in one fell swoop. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "I Tried Nair’s New Hair-Removal Masks — Here’s What Happened," 15 July 2019 The nature of nurture Many devices are already being designed and inserted into children’s lives with the potential of replicating human caregiving. John C. Havens, Quartz, "Will we lose our rights as parents once robots are better at raising our kids?," 10 July 2019 Children in America have long represented our humane beliefs in the promise of good treatment and careful nurture. Paula Fass, Time, "If You're Shocked by Reports on Children at the Border, You Haven't Paid Attention to American History," 11 July 2019 Their theory was that nurture (education, socialization, family structure) matters little because nature is determinative. George F. Will, The Denver Post, "George Will: Last century’s immigration debate makes today’s seem enlightened," 30 June 2019 The triplets, born in 1961, were placed with three families — one upper class, one middle, one working — by the now-defunct Louise Wise Agency as part of a study about nature vs. nurture by the Child Development Center. Washington Post, "Documentary tells dark tale of triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 Big Littles Lies’s second season, since the very first episode, has been playing with the theme of nurture over nature, and how our parents shape who their children become. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Big Little Lies season 2, episode 3 recap: Hail Renata, the Medusa of Monterey," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Spurs are known for dealing in the transfer market with future profits and goals in mind, making Sessegnon a perfect fit for the club who will take the effort to nurture him. SI.com, "Mauricio Pochettino Reveals Why He Shouldn't Be Blamed for Tottenham's Failed Transfers," 24 July 2019 The pressure to settle down may have eased, but the quest to nurture has not. Boston.com Real Estate, "An infatuation with houseplants takes root in the millennial culture," 12 June 2019 Miller said her African American teachers nurtured her and cultivated her talents while some of her white teachers failed to recognize her abilities. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "“When someobody looks like you, there’s something that they instill in you:’’ House passes bill to boost number of minority educators," 5 June 2019 Identifying talented songwriters, nurturing them, hearing great hit songs. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "SOCAN's Michael McCarty: We're Entering the 'Most Prosperous' Era in the History of Recorded Music," 4 June 2019 Applying a little castor oil daily can help nurture your eyelashes and eyebrows. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Benefits of Castor Oil Are Mostly for Your Hair and Skin," 15 Feb. 2019 Some of the books reflect his strong moral compass and convey the importance of integrity and giving back to the institutions that helped educate and nurture him. Burton G. Malkiel, WSJ, "The Secrets of Jack Bogle’s Investment Success," 17 Jan. 2019 Those minicomputer giants mostly failed to adapt to the PC and Internet revolutions, and the region wasn't able to nurture a new crop of technology giants to take their place. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Massachusetts gives workers new protections against noncompete clauses," 21 Aug. 2018 Just don't forget to nurture your relationships with your friends, fam, and, yes, yourself. Danielle Fox, Seventeen, "What Song Describes Your Love Life?," 24 July 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

11 Aug 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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