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nest

[nest]
noun
  1. 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.
  2. a place used by insects, fishes, turtles, rabbits, etc., for depositing their eggs or young.
  3. a number of birds, insects, animals, etc., inhabiting one such place.
  4. a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home.
  5. 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.
  6. a place where something bad is fostered or flourishes: a nest of vice; a robber's nest.
  7. the occupants or frequenters of such a place.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to settle or place (something) in or as if in a nest: to nest dishes in straw.
  2. to fit or place one within another: to nest boxes for more compact storage.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to build or have a nest: The swallows nested under the eaves.
  2. to settle in or as if in a nest.
  3. to fit together or within another or one another: bowls that nest easily for storage.
  4. to search for or collect nests: to go nesting.
  5. Computers. to place a routine inside another routine that is at a higher hierarchical level.
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Origin of nest

before 900; Middle English, Old English (cognate with Dutch, German nest; akin to Latin nīdus nest, Old Irish net, Welsh nyth, Sanskrit nīḍa lair) ≪ Indo-European *nizdo- bird's nest, equivalent to *ni down (see nether) + *zd-, variant of *sd-, ablaut variant of *sed-, v. base meaning “sit” (see sit1) + *-o- theme vowel
Related formsnest·a·ble, adjectivenest·er, nounnest·like, adjectivenest·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nester

Historical Examples

  • Not once had he referred to the nester, and his silence had nettled Duncan.

    The Trail to Yesterday

    Charles Alden Seltzer

  • Evidently he had expected that she had been about to ask who had killed the nester.

    The Trail to Yesterday

    Charles Alden Seltzer

  • He put up that night at the place of a nester in the foothills.

    Crooked Trails and Straight

    William MacLeod Raine

  • The problem of a fighting “nester” was a new one to the cattlemen of that country.

  • He paused and looked around for appreciation, but only the nester kids smiled.

    Bat Wing Bowles

    Dane Coolidge


British Dictionary definitions for nester

nest

noun
  1. a place or structure in which birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, mice, etc, lay eggs or give birth to young
  2. a number of animals of the same species and their young occupying a common habitatan ants' nest
  3. a place fostering something undesirablea nest of thievery
  4. the people in such a placea nest of thieves
  5. a cosy or secluded place
  6. a set of things, usually of graduated sizes, designed to fit togethera nest of tables
  7. military a weapon emplacementa machine-gun nest
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verb
  1. (intr) to make or inhabit a nest
  2. (intr) to hunt for birds' nests
  3. (tr) to place in a nest
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Derived Formsnester, nounnestlike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English; related to Latin nīdus (nest) and to beneath, sit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nester

nest

v.

Old English nistan "to build nests," from Proto-Germanic *nistijanan, from the source of nest (n.). The modern verb is perhaps a new formation in Middle English from the noun. Related: Nested; nesting.

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nest

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with nester

nest

see empty nest; feather one's nest; foul one's nest; stir up a hornet's nest.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.