nature

noun

na·​ture ˈnā-chər How to pronounce nature (audio)
1
: the external world in its entirety
2
: natural scenery
enjoyed the beauties of nature
3
a
: disposition, temperament
it was his nature to look after others F. A. Swinnerton
her romantic nature
b
: the inherent character or basic constitution (see constitution sense 2) of a person or thing : essence
the nature of the controversy
4
a
: humankind's original or natural condition
b
: a simplified mode of life resembling this condition
escape from civilization and get back to nature
5
: a kind or class usually distinguished by fundamental or essential characteristics
documents of a confidential nature
acts of a ceremonial nature
6
: the physical constitution or drives of an organism
especially : an excretory organ or function
used in phrases like the call of nature
7
: the genetically controlled qualities of an organism
nature … modified by nurture E. G. Conklin
8
a
: a creative and controlling force in the universe
b
: an inner force (such as instinct, appetite, desire) or the sum of such forces in an individual
9
: a spontaneous attitude (as of generosity)
Choose the Right Synonym for nature

type, kind, sort, nature, description, character mean a number of individuals thought of as a group because of a common quality or qualities.

type may suggest strong and clearly marked similarity throughout the items included so that each is typical of the group.

one of three basic body types

kind may suggest natural grouping.

a zoo seemingly having animals of every kind

sort often suggests some disparagement.

the sort of newspaper dealing in sensational stories

nature may imply inherent, essential resemblance rather than obvious or superficial likenesses.

two problems of a similar nature

description implies a group marked by agreement in all details belonging to a type as described or defined.

not all acts of that description are actually illegal

character implies a group marked by distinctive likenesses peculiar to the type.

research on the subject so far has been of an elementary character

Example Sentences

He devoted himself to the study of nature. That is a color not found in nature. Hunger is nature's way of telling you to eat. Gravity is one of the basic laws of nature. She's very competitive by nature.
Recent Examples on the Web Soon, a man who worshipped nature was worshipped by his own people. Sheikh Saaliq, ajc, 23 Nov. 2022 This, combined with my parents' unconventional nature, makes the holidays a unique experience in my household. Haadiza Ogwude, The Enquirer, 23 Nov. 2022 Newsome acknowledged the bizarre nature of suffering two concussions in Friday practices, almost a year apart. cleveland, 22 Nov. 2022 Gifts for a Sag should cater to their free spirit, intellect, and extroverted party nature. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 22 Nov. 2022 Amami's combination of plentiful nature, fertile soil and history of trade has created a bounty of culinary creativity. Rebecca Saunders, CNN, 22 Nov. 2022 On the road, the twin-turbo V-6 provides ample power as well as a refined nature suitable for a luxury vehicle such as the LX. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 22 Nov. 2022 Neutral and moody with plenty of nods to nature and big windows that let the light pour in, this living room is both formal enough to entertain guests and cozy enough to really make yourself at home and unwind. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 21 Nov. 2022 That was before our carbon emissions started reshaping the atmosphere, putting nature at the mercy of humans. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nature.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin natura, from natus, past participle of nasci to be born — more at nation

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Time Traveler
The first known use of nature was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near nature

Cite this Entry

“Nature.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nature. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

nature

noun

na·​ture ˈnā-chər How to pronounce nature (audio)
1
: the basic quality, character, or way in which a thing or person exists or has been formed
the nature of steel
2
: kind entry 1 sense 1a, sort
and things of that nature
3
: disposition sense 3a, temperament
a baby with a happy nature
4
: a power or set of forces thought of as controlling the universe
5
: natural feeling especially as shown in one's attitude toward others
your generous nature is well-known
6
: humanity's original or natural condition : primitive life
return to nature
7
: the physical universe
the study of nature
8
: the workings of a living body
leave a cure to nature
especially : an excretory function
used in phrases like the call of nature
9
: natural scenery
the beauties of nature

More from Merriam-Webster on nature

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