wet-nurse

verb
\ˈwet-ˌnərs \
wet-nursed; wet-nursing; wet-nurses

Definition of wet-nurse 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to care for and breastfeed (another woman's baby) : to act as wet nurse to

2 : to give constant and often excessive care to

wet nurse

noun

Definition of wet nurse (Entry 2 of 2)

: a woman who cares for and breastfeeds children not her own

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Synonyms & Antonyms for wet-nurse

Synonyms: Verb

baby, coddle, cosset, dandle, indulge, mollycoddle, nurse, pamper, spoil

Antonyms: Verb

abuse, ill-treat, ill-use, maltreat, manhandle, mishandle, mistreat, misuse

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Examples of wet-nurse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the early twentieth century, nursing one's own baby was often a barometer of class: The poor did; the wealthy demurred, turning instead to wet nurses and manufactured infant food. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Breastfeeding Movement Is Experiencing a Tech Revolution—Here's How It's Helping New Moms," 11 Sep. 2018 Since they were believed to impart their character through their milk, wet nurses had to demonstrate good morals, intelligence, and other desirable attributes. Mark Kurlansky, Time, "Why We've Been Fighting About Milk for 10,000 Years," 7 May 2018 Many societies had legal codes with various provisions for the comportment of wet nurses. Mark Kurlansky, Time, "Why We've Been Fighting About Milk for 10,000 Years," 7 May 2018 Philippa was a one-time wet nurse who, after a meteoric rise in the royal court, had become something akin to a foster mother to Joanna and Maria. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 For centuries, a wet nurse was the solution of choice for the affluent. Elaine Khosrova, WSJ, "‘Milk!’ Review: Food History Worth Nursing," 7 May 2018 The ancient Greeks strongly believed that a wet nurse should be Greek. Mark Kurlansky, Time, "Why We've Been Fighting About Milk for 10,000 Years," 7 May 2018 The Young Man and Woman are chased away by degenerate sinners: a prostitute, a knight, a wet nurse, a priest, and God himself. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Mother!'s Theater of Cruelty," 24 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wet-nurse.' 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 wet-nurse

Verb

1784, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1620, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for wet-nurse

The first known use of wet-nurse was in 1620

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More Definitions for wet-nurse

wet nurse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wet nurse

: a woman who cares for and breast-feeds other people's babies as a job

wet nurse

noun

Medical Definition of wet nurse 

: a woman who cares for and suckles young not her own

More from Merriam-Webster on wet-nurse

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Nglish: Translation of wet-nurse for Spanish Speakers

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