wet-nurse

verb
\ ˈwet-ˌnərs How to pronounce wet-nurse (audio) \
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 for wet-nurse

Synonyms: Verb

breast-feed, nurse, suckle

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Examples of wet-nurse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Slave children could be sold away and slave wet nurses hired out, producing more income for slave owners. NBC News, "It's not just men: White conservative women have played key role in abortion policy changes this year," 13 Aug. 2019 The goal: produce more slave children or potential wet nurses at times opportune for the owners. NBC News, "It's not just men: White conservative women have played key role in abortion policy changes this year," 13 Aug. 2019 The alpha female not only didn’t shun the beta’s young — with her own pups mostly weaned, Beira pitched in as wet nurse to the new brood. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Wild Pups Romp Again in an African Paradise," 3 Aug. 2019 In order to seduce a woman, a man must be prepared to go flower-picking with her, to play in her doll house, and, perhaps most essentially, cultivate her closest friend (who, in an ideal society, would be her wet nurse’s daughter). Manu S Pillai, Quartz India, "When a British official dodged Victorian prudery to publish the Kamasutra in English," 27 June 2019 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

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

old-fashioned : 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 breastfeeds young not her own

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Nglish: Translation of wet-nurse for Spanish Speakers

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