verb (used with object), wet-nursed, wet-nurs·ing.

to act as a wet nurse to (an infant).
to give excessive care or attention to; treat as if helpless: The warden is accused of wet-nursing his prisoners.

Origin of wet-nurse

First recorded in 1775–85

wet nurse


a woman hired to suckle another's infant.

Origin of wet nurse

First recorded in 1610–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wet-nurse

Contemporary Examples of wet-nurse

  • The potential role of the wet-nurse, in this context, begins to take on different significance.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Buy That Breast Milk!

    Kent Sepkowitz

    October 22, 2013

Historical Examples of wet-nurse

  • She wished they were larger though, and dreamed of having breasts like a wet-nurse.


    Emile Zola

  • The choosing of a wet-nurse is a matter of great moment and responsibility.

    The Physical Life of Woman:

    Dr. George H Napheys

  • There was no wet-nurse to be had, but a woman from the village had been sent for.

    The Wonder

    J. D. Beresford

  • "Well, I'm damned," said the wet-nurse And went out, looking thoughtful.

    Long Live the King

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • I didn't engage to wet-nurse its infants with bank accounts.

    A Son Of The Sun

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for wet-nurse

wet nurse


a woman hired to suckle the child of another

verb wet-nurse (tr)

to act as a wet nurse to (a child)
informal to attend with great devotion
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

Medicine definitions for wet-nurse

wet nurse


A woman employed to breast-feed a child that is not her own.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.