nudged; nudging

transitive verb

: to touch or push gently
nudged the cue ball with the tip of the cue.Paul Theroux
especially : to seek the attention of by a push of the elbow
nudged Ron in the ribs and pointed at Malfoy … J. K. Rowling
: to prod lightly : urge into action
… have been nudged into starting their own ventures …Janet Bamford
: approach
its circulation is nudging the four million markBennett Cerf

intransitive verb

: to give a nudge
She nudged and jostled through the crowd.
nudge noun
nudger noun

Examples of nudge in a Sentence

I nudged the plate closer to him. The guard nudged the prisoner forward. The dog nudged the ball with his nose. He nudged me and pointed to the deer. The salesman nudged her into testing out the car. Album sales are nudging the one million mark. The price of gold has nudged a little higher. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Indeed, a simple prompt can nudge generative AI in the direction of any of those four models. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 But a win here nudges him into G.O.A.T. territory -- or so the narrative would state. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 8 Feb. 2024 That gremlin is an Apple Watch, which, like all fitness trackers, is designed to nudge users toward healthy behaviors. Caroline Mimbs Nyce, The Atlantic, 1 Feb. 2024 Not even an intervention by James Baldwin (played by Chris Chalk) can nudge Capote, or the series, into channeling all that gossip into some bigger aim. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2024 There’s evidence to suggest that direct cash transfers to parents and child-care subsidies can nudge birth rates upward, albeit at a high cost to taxpayers. Patrick T. Brown, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 But that’s actually what’s floating around out there on the social network hellscapes, nudged along by a few adults who really should know better (Vivek Ramaswamy). James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Jan. 2024 The warmer sea surface waters from El Niño spewed heat into the atmosphere, and this helped nudge the global average temperature up. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 The one who unexpectedly nudges Tarrell toward forgiveness is his mother, Joyce (Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor), whose Christian faith has enabled her to release her own anger toward La’Ron. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nudge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1675, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nudge was in 1675

Dictionary Entries Near nudge

Cite this Entry

“Nudge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


nudged; nudging
: to touch or push gently
especially : to attract the attention of by a push of the elbow
nudge noun

More from Merriam-Webster on nudge

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