nurse a grudge

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Bear resentment for a long time, as in We don't know why Karl looks so angry; I think he's nursing a grudge against the family. This expression uses nurse in the sense of “foster a feeling,” a usage dating from the mid-1700s.

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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.


What does nurse a grudge mean?

To nurse a grudge is to have and maintain a feeling of anger, bitterness, or resentment toward someone for something they did, especially a wrong that you think they committed against you.

The word nurse is used in the phrase as a verb meaning to keep steadily in mind or memory.

The word grudge is typically used to refer to such a feeling when it has been held for a long period of time—often longer than is considered normal.

For that reason, grudge is often used in phrases like nurse a grudge and others that mean the same thing, including hold a grudge (which is much more common), bear a grudge, and harbor a grudge. 

Grudges are usually directed toward people, but a person can nurse a grudge against a group or an entity like a company or organization. The word grudge is often followed by the word against and whom or what the grudge is directed toward, as in Your father still nurses a grudge against that pizzeria for getting his order wrong that one time. 

Example: She has nursed a grudge against me ever since I beat her in the spelling bee in fifth grade.

Where does nurse a grudge come from?

The phrase nurse a grudge has been used since at least the 1800s. The first records of the word grudge come from the 1400s. It comes from the Old French grouchier, which means “to grumble” and is also the basis of the word grouch. Grudge is probably related to the Middle High German word grogezen, meaning “to complain, cry out.” This sense of the word nurse has been used since at least the 1500s.

When a person nurses a grudge, it’s often due to treatment or an action that’s considered unforgivable by the person nursing the grudge. Usually this involves a personal slight (or perceived personal slight), but a person can nurse a grudge against someone they don’t even know. A lot of grudges are held for petty reasons, including things that the supposed wrongdoer doesn’t even know that they did. The opposite of nursing a grudge can be thought of as forgiving and forgetting (or letting it go).

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What are some synonyms for nurse a grudge?

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

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

How is nurse a grudge used in real life?

People are known to nurse a grudge for all kinds of reasons. The phrase hold a grudge is much more commonly used.



Try using nurse a grudge!

Is nurse a grudge used correctly in the following sentence?

Do you really still nurse a grudge against me for eating your doughnut seven years ago?

How to use nurse a grudge in a sentence