- a pocketlike, usually more or less circular structure of twigs, grass, mud, etc., formed by a bird, often high in a tree, as a place in which to lay and incubate its eggs and rear its young; any protected place used by a bird for these purposes.
- a place used by insects, fishes, turtles, rabbits, etc., for depositing their eggs or young.
- a number of birds, insects, animals, etc., inhabiting one such place.
- a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home.
- an assemblage of things lying or set close together, as a series of boxes or trays, that fit within each other: a nest of tables.
- a place where something bad is fostered or flourishes: a nest of vice; a robber's nest.
- the occupants or frequenters of such a place.
- to settle or place (something) in or as if in a nest: to nest dishes in straw.
- to fit or place one within another: to nest boxes for more compact storage.
- to build or have a nest: The swallows nested under the eaves.
- to settle in or as if in a nest.
- to fit together or within another or one another: bowls that nest easily for storage.
- to search for or collect nests: to go nesting.
- Computers. to place a routine inside another routine that is at a higher hierarchical level.
Origin of nest
- a place or structure in which birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, mice, etc, lay eggs or give birth to young
- a number of animals of the same species and their young occupying a common habitatan ants' nest
- a place fostering something undesirablea nest of thievery
- the people in such a placea nest of thieves
- a cosy or secluded place
- a set of things, usually of graduated sizes, designed to fit togethera nest of tables
- military a weapon emplacementa machine-gun nest
- (intr) to make or inhabit a nest
- (intr) to hunt for birds' nests
- (tr) to place in a nest
Word Origin for nest
Old English nest "bird's nest, snug retreat," also "young bird, brood," from Proto-Germanic *nistaz (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch nest, German Nest), from PIE *nizdo- (cf. Sanskrit nidah "resting place, nest," Latin nidus "nest," Old Church Slavonic gnezdo, Old Irish net, Welsh nyth, Breton nez "nest"), probably from *ni "down" + *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).
Used since Middle English in reference to various accumulations of things (e.g. a nest of drawers, early 18c.). Nest egg "retirement savings" is from 1700, originally "a real or artificial egg left in a nest to induce the hen to go on laying there" (c.1600).
see empty nest; feather one's nest; foul one's nest; stir up a hornet's nest.