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verb (used with object), nur·tured, nur·tur·ing.
  1. to feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring.
  2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster: to nurture promising musicians.
  3. to bring up; train; educate.
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  1. rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
  2. development: the nurture of young artists.
  3. something that nourishes; nourishment; food.
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Origin of nurture

1300–50; (noun) Middle English norture < Middle French, variant of nourriture < Late Latin nūtrītūra a nourishing, equivalent to Latin nūtrīt(us) (past participle of nūtrīre to feed, nourish) + -ūra -ure; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related formsnur·tur·a·ble, adjectivenur·ture·less, adjectivenur·tur·er, nounun·nur·tured, adjectivewell-nur·tured, adjective

Synonyms for nurture

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1, 3. See nurse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for nurture

feed, discipline, training, nutriment, provisions, victuals, food, subsistence, provender, instruction, upbringing, diet, sustenance, viands, breeding, education, care, rearing, edibles, bolster

Examples from the Web for nurture

Contemporary Examples of nurture

Historical Examples of nurture

  • For government is the nurture of man, and the government of good men is good, and of bad men bad.

  • But to return:—After marriage let us speak of the birth of children, and after their birth of their nurture and education.



  • But you can't expect anything of them; they've had no nurture.'

    Brother Copas

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • A mother's tears, Gabriella, nurture great aspirations in a child.

    Ernest Linwood

    Caroline Lee Hentz

  • Every soul may plant and nurture it in its own garden, in its own Eden.

British Dictionary definitions for nurture


  1. the act or process of promoting the development, etc, of a child
  2. something that nourishes
  3. biology the environmental factors that partly determine the structure of an organismSee also nature (def. 12)
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verb (tr)
  1. to feed or support
  2. to educate or train
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Derived Formsnurturable, adjectivenurturer, noun

Word Origin for nurture

C14: from Old French norriture, from Latin nutrīre 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

Word Origin and History for nurture


c.1300, "breeding, upbringing," from Old French norture, nourreture "food, nourishment; education, training," from Late Latin nutritia (see nursery).

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"to feed or nourish," early 15c., from nurture (n.). Related: Nurtured; nurturing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper