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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.
  1. rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
  2. development: the nurture of young artists.
  3. something that nourishes; nourishment; food.

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for nurturing

sustenance, development, subsistence

Examples from the Web for nurturing

Contemporary Examples of nurturing

Historical Examples of nurturing

  • What mattered now was planting and nurturing civilization on Tanith.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Had I been instrumental in nurturing those flowers of the heart?

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • Perhaps it is just as well, for we are novices at nurturing even yet!

  • Yes, dear brother, by nurturing this love you do her a worse evil than you know of.

    Penshurst Castle

    Emma Marshall

  • A copse is a plot of ground, proportioned off for the purpose of nurturing wood.

    Woodland Gleanings

    Charles Tilt

British Dictionary definitions for nurturing


  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)
verb (tr)
  1. to feed or support
  2. to educate or train
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 nurturing



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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper