[ nest-ling, nes-ling ]
/ ˈnɛst lɪŋ, ˈnɛs lɪŋ /


a young bird not yet old enough to leave the nest.
a young child or infant.

Origin of nestling

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at nest, -ling1

Definition for nestling (2 of 2)


[ nes-uh l ]
/ ˈnɛs əl /

verb (used without object), nes·tled, nes·tling.

to lie close and snug, like a bird in a nest; snuggle or cuddle.
to lie or be located in a sheltered spot; be naturally or pleasantly situated: a cottage nestling in a pine grove.
  1. to make or have a nest.
  2. to make one's home; settle in a home.

verb (used with object), nes·tled, nes·tling.

to settle or ensconce snugly: He nestled himself into the hay for a short nap.
to put or press confidingly or affectionately: She nestled her head on his shoulder.
to provide with or settle in a nest, as a bird.

Origin of nestle

before 1000; Middle English nestlen, Old English nestlian, cognate with Dutch nestelen. See nest, -le

Related forms

nes·tler, nounun·nes·tled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nestling

British Dictionary definitions for nestling (1 of 2)


/ (ˈnɛstlɪŋ, ˈnɛslɪŋ) /


  1. a young bird not yet fledged
  2. (as modifier)a nestling thrush
any young person or animal

Word Origin for nestling

C14: from nest + -ling 1

British Dictionary definitions for nestling (2 of 2)


/ (ˈnɛsəl) /


(intr; often foll by up or down) to snuggle, settle, or cuddle closely
(intr) to be in a sheltered or protected position; lie snugly
(tr) to shelter or place snugly or partly concealed, as in a nest

Derived Forms

nestler, noun

Word Origin for nestle

Old English nestlian. See nest
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