- the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities.
- the natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization: In nature, wild dogs hunt in packs.
- the elements of the natural world, as mountains, trees, animals, or rivers: The abandoned power plant was reclaimed by nature, covered in overgrowth and home to feral animals.
- natural scenery: Tourists at the resort are surrounded by nature.
- the universe, with all its phenomena: Conservation of energy is a universal law of nature.
- the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe.
- reality, as distinguished from any effect of art: a portrait true to nature.
- the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person, animal, thing, or class by birth, origin, or constitution; native or inherent character: human nature.
- the instincts or inherent tendencies directing conduct: a man of good nature.
- character, kind, or sort: two books of the same nature.
- characteristic disposition; temperament: a self-willed nature; an evil nature.
- the original, natural, uncivilized condition of humankind.
- the biological functions or the urges to satisfy their requirements.
- a primitive, wild condition; an uncultivated state.
- a simple, uncluttered mode of life without the conveniences or distractions of civilization: a return to nature.
- (initial capital letter, italics) a prose work (1836), by Ralph Waldo Emerson, expounding transcendentalism.
- Theology. the moral state as unaffected by grace.
- by nature, as a result of inborn or inherent qualities; innately: She is by nature a kindhearted person.
- in a state of nature,
- in an uncivilized or uncultured condition.
- without clothes; nude; naked.
- of/in the nature of, having the character or qualities of: in the nature of an apology.
Origin of nature
- the fundamental qualities of a person or thing; identity or essential character
- (often capital, esp when personified) the whole system of the existence, arrangement, forces, and events of all physical life that are not controlled by man
- all natural phenomena and plant and animal life, as distinct from man and his creations
- a wild primitive state untouched by man or civilization
- natural unspoilt scenery or countryside
- disposition or temperament
- tendencies, desires, or instincts governing behaviour
- the normal biological needs or urges of the body
- sort; kind; character
- the real appearance of a person or thinga painting very true to nature
- accepted standards of basic morality or behaviour
- biology the complement of genetic material that partly determines the structure of an organism; genotypeCompare nurture (def. 3)
- Irish sympathy and fondness for one's own people or native placeshe is full of nature
- against nature unnatural or immoral
- by nature essentially or innately
- call of nature informal, euphemistic, or jocular the need to urinate or defecate
- from nature using natural models in drawing, painting, etc
- in the nature of or of the nature of essentially the same as; by way of
Word Origin and History for naturelike
late 13c., "restorative powers of the body, bodily processes; powers of growth;" from Old French nature "nature, being, principle of life; character, essence," from Latin natura "course of things; natural character, constitution, quality; the universe," literally "birth," from natus "born," past participle of nasci "to be born," from PIE *gene- "to give birth, beget" (see genus).
From late 14c. as "creation, the universe;" also "heredity, birth, hereditary circumstance; essential qualities, innate disposition" (e.g. human nature); "nature personified, Mother Nature." Specifically as "material world beyond human civilization or society" from 1660s. Nature and nurture have been contrasted since 1874.
Nature should be avoided in such vague expressions as 'a lover of nature,' 'poems about nature.' Unless more specific statements follow, the reader cannot tell whether the poems have to do with natural scenery, rural life, the sunset, the untouched wilderness, or the habits of squirrels." [Strunk & White, "The Elements of Style," 3rd ed., 1979]
- The world and its naturally occurring phenomena, together with all of the physical laws that govern them.
- Living organisms and their environments.