[ nurs ]
/ nɜrs /
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See synonyms for: nurse / nursed / nursing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), nursed, nurs·ing.
verb (used without object), nursed, nurs·ing.
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Origin of nurse

First recorded before 1350–1400; (noun) Middle English, variant of n(o)urice, norice, from Old French, from Late Latin nūtrīcia, noun use of feminine of Latin nūtrīciusnutritious; (verb) earlier nursh (reduced form of nourish), assimilated to the noun

synonym study for nurse

14. Nurse, nourish, nurture may be used almost interchangeably to refer to bringing up the young. Nurse, however, suggests attendance and service; nourish emphasizes providing whatever is needful for development; and nurture suggests tenderness and solicitude in training mind and manners.


non·nurs·ing, adjectiveo·ver·nurse, verb (used with object), o·ver·nursed, o·ver·nurs·ing.un·der·nurse, nounwell-nursed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does nurse mean?

A nurse is someone who has been formally trained and educated to tend to the sick and infirm, as in The nurse double-checked the dosage of drugs the cancer patient was receiving. 

Related to this sense, nurse can be used to mean to tend to a person who is sick, infirm, or injured, as in The father nursed his daughter while she was sick with chickenpox. 

Nurse can also mean to take care of oneself to try to cure something, as in Jonah was nursing a cold last week. 

Nurse is also used to mean to breast-feed a baby, as in The mother cat nursed her litter of kittens.  

And nurse can mean to look after something carefully or to cherish something, as in Pat nursed her new company through the recession. 

Example: My brother went to school to be a nurse and is now working at the local hospital. 

Where does nurse come from?

The first records of the word nurse come from around 1350. The noun sense ultimately comes from the Latin nūtrīcius, meaning “nourishing.” The verb sense likely comes from nursh, which is a reduced form of nourish. To nourish is to feed or care for something, which is close to what modern nurses are expected to do.

Today, nurses are employed anywhere that sick or injured people are expected to be, such as hospitals and emergency medical shelters. They often work alongside doctors, who have more advanced training in practicing medicine.

In the United States, only 13% of nurses are men due to long-running stereotypes that nursing is a woman’s job. In reality, anyone who can perform this important medical work can be a nurse.

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What are some other forms related to nurse?

  • overnurse (verb)
  • undernurse (noun)
  • nonnursing (adjective)
  • well-nursed (adjective)

What are some synonyms for nurse?

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

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

How is nurse used in real life?

The most common usage of nurse is to describe someone trained to take care of you when you’re sick. The various verb meanings of nurse are also commonly used.

Try using nurse!

Is nurse used correctly in the following sentence?

The injured workers were cared for by nurses who tended to their cuts and sprains.

How to use nurse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nurse

/ (nɜːs) /

verb (mainly tr)

Word Origin for nurse

C16: from earlier norice, Old French nourice, from Late Latin nūtrīcia nurse, from Latin nūtrīcius nourishing, from nūtrīre to nourish
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