- a household in which one or more parents live after the children have left home: Our only child just moved into her first apartment, so we have an empty nest.
- a stage in a parent’s life after the children have left home.
The stage in a family's cycle when the children have grown up and left home to begin their own adult lives.
The home of parents whose children have grown up and moved out. For example, Now that they had an empty nest, Jim and Jane opened a bed-and-breakfast. This expression, alluding to a nest from which baby birds have flown, gave rise to such related ones as empty-nester, for a parent whose children had moved out, and empty-nest syndrome, for the state of mind of parents whose children had left. [c. 1970]