View synonyms for nourish


[ nur-ish, nuhr- ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth.
  2. to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.:

    He had long nourished the dream of living abroad.

  3. to strengthen, build up, or promote:

    to nourish discontent among the workers; to nourish the arts in one's community.

    Synonyms: advance, back, aid, help, encourage

    Antonyms: discourage


/ ˈnʌrɪʃ /


  1. to provide with the materials necessary for life and growth
  2. to support or encourage (an idea, feeling, etc); foster

    to nourish resentment

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Derived Forms

  • ˈnourishing, adjective
  • ˈnourisher, noun
  • ˈnourishingly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • nourish·a·ble adjective
  • nourish·er noun
  • over·nourish verb (used with object)
  • re·nourish verb (used with object)
  • self-nourished adjective
  • un·nourish·a·ble adjective
  • un·nourished adjective
  • well-nourished adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of nourish1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English norisshe, from Old French noriss-, long stem of norir, from Latin nūtrīre “to feed”; nurse, -ish 2

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Word History and Origins

Origin of nourish1

C14: from Old French norir, from Latin nūtrīre to feed, care for

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Synonym Study

See nurse.

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Example Sentences

Working as a doctor treating refugees at Mission Hospital, she created in 1989 the Shuhada Organization and Clinic in Quetta, Pakistan — which treated Afghan women and girls, healing them physically and nourishing them academically.

From Ozy

If you’re looking to avoid sulfates, parabens, or sodium chloride, then this nourishing scrub is for you.

One hormone called estrogen equips female bodies to release eggs and nourish a developing fetus.

Our brains falsely attribute the quality of breakfast to these items, perhaps to encourage us to eat them and thereby nourish ourselves.

The hornet then carries this treat home to nourish young hornets.

No trained medical provider could possibly expect to nourish a patient this way.

These micromoments, our research shows, nourish both you and the other person.

Breivik, currently cooperating with Norwegian police officials, may continue to nourish a similar attitude toward his own actions.

He spoke of “government that would not enslave the human spirit, but free it and nourish it throughout the generations.”

They nourish them with bitter commentary, and they nurse their grievances like they would feed a bottle to a starving infant.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep.

They lay like vast skeletons, serving to nourish the mushrooms which grew vigorously in the rank vegetation.

All the summer long these pastures nourish the sheep, poor enough beasts at the best.

They tasted fine and seemed to nourish him, so he really didn't care.

I seem to be speaking altogether of nourishing emotion, and we ought to nourish noble emotions.


Related Words

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More About Nourish

What does nourish mean?

Nourish means to promote healthy growth—to do or provide what’s needed for someone or something to be healthy and to grow and develop.

The word is most commonly used in relation to food. Healthy food nourishes us. Parents try to nourish their children by feeding them healthy foods. Sometimes, food is said to nourish more than the body, as in A warm, home-cooked meal nourishes the body and the spirit. 

However, nourish can be used in many other contexts, including those that don’t involve food, as in Education nourishes our minds. 

In the context of the growth and development of things, such as communities and relationships, nourish means to build up or promote, as in This grant is intended to nourish the local arts and culture scene. A more common synonym for this sense of the word is nurture.

In all of these senses, nourish is a somewhat formal and perhaps poetic word—it usually means something loftier than feed.

Less commonly, nourish can mean to cherish, foster, or keep alive, especially something abstract, like hopes or dreams. This isn’t always something positive—you can nourish a grudge, for example.

The word nourished is often used as an adjective, including in terms like well nourished, poorly nourished, undernourished, and malnourished. Things that nourish can be described with the adjective nourishing. The noun nourishment can refer to the act of nourishing or to something that nourishes.

Example: As a mother, it’s my job to nourish my kids physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Where does nourish come from?

The first records of the word nourish come from the 1200s. It comes from the Latin verb nūtrīre, meaning “to feed” or “to care for.” The words nurture, nutrition, nutritious, and nurse are based on the same root.

Nourish is closely associated with food, and even its senses that don’t literally involve food are usually likened to providing nourishing food to help someone or something grow healthy and strong. This is almost always positive. You can nourish your loved ones with love and affection, and you can nourish your mind with knowledge.

To undernourish is to fail to provide enough of what’s needed for someone or something to be healthy and to grow and develop. The word is especially used in the context of nutrition, but it can be used in the same figurative ways as nourish.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to nourish?

What are some synonyms for nourish?

What are some words that share a root or word element with nourish

What are some words that often get used in discussing nourish?

How is nourish used in real life?

Nourish and its related words are closely associated with food, but they can be used in a variety of contexts.



Try using nourish!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of nourish?

A. sustain
B. nurture
C. weaken
D. cultivate