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?


nurtured; nurturing\ ˈnərch-​riŋ How to pronounce nurture (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

Other Words from nurture


nurturer \ ˈnər-​chər-​ər How to pronounce nurture (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for nurture

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 After airing the season six finale of Queen Sugar, the show’s stars talked about the how to better nurture success in Hollywood talent. Morgan Baila, Vulture, 14 Nov. 2021 Spaces that calm and nurture are key, Bertrand notes. Jamie Gold, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 In fact, giving yourself breaks is the best way to recharge and nurture curiosity. Yolanda Lau, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Boundaries drawn by the United States nurture some of the disquiet. New York Times, 2 Oct. 2021 While it's not exactly known why some people get psoriasis and others don't, Dr. Friedman says the cause is believed to be a mix of nature and nurture. Cathy Cassata,, 20 Sep. 2021 Overall, your family history shows the heartbreaking side of the nature/nurture debate. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 11 Sep. 2021 Overall, your family history shows the heartbreaking side of the nature/nurture debate. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 11 Sep. 2021 Our world is filled with these false dichotomies: right versus left, freedom versus responsibility, nurture versus nature, strategic versus tactical. Lisa Earle Mcleod, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Van Lee held one-on-one meetings with the commissioners and the agency’s staff and hosted several social events, including one at his D.C. apartment, to nurture relationships and build camaraderie. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2021 Put frankly, the white-collar labor force was not designed to help workers nurture self-realization projects. Erin A. Cech, The Atlantic, 13 Nov. 2021 Prentice Penny is partnering with Stranger Comics’ Founder Sebastian A. Jones to recognize and nurture independent comic book creators. Keyaira Boone, Essence, 5 Nov. 2021 Working closely with the American Press Institute, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is embarking on an experiment to identify, nurture and expand a network of news partnerships across metro Atlanta and the state. Shawn Watkins, ajc, 31 Oct. 2021 Here are the panelists’ thoughts on how to build and nurture those relationships. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, 6 Oct. 2021 Unused loyalty points should be used as strategic tools to nurture long-term customer relationships and build customer lifetime value. Len Covello, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 Whether people will continue to build and nurture this alliance after the vigils and the marches wind down and the outrage over last week’s attacks in suburban Atlanta subsides is another matter. Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2021 The most effective way is to nurture experimentation by making an adult playground to solve the team's problems. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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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The first known use of nurture was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nurture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for nurture



English Language Learners Definition of nurture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing



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


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


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on nurture

Nglish: Translation of nurture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nurture for Arabic Speakers


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