View synonyms for wet nurse

wet nurse



  1. a woman hired to suckle another's infant.



[ wet-nurs ]

verb (used with object)

, wet-nursed, wet-nurs·ing.
  1. to act as a wet nurse to (an infant).
  2. to give excessive care or attention to; treat as if helpless:

    The warden is accused of wet-nursing his prisoners.

wet nurse


  1. a woman hired to suckle the child of another


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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wet nurse1

First recorded in 1610–20

Origin of wet nurse2

First recorded in 1775–85

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Example Sentences

If one feels overwhelmed, others serve as a buttress, helping her with childcare and breastfeeding, and sometimes even stepping in as wet nurses.

From Time

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

Oh, and just last week she played wet nurse to a hungry African baby—just because she could.

A wet-nurse would cost him six dollars a week; and, as to bringing up little Tommy by hand, city milk would soon finish him.

At the time of our visit the institution contained eighty foundlings; to each of those still in infancy was assigned a wet nurse.

If a wet-nurse is provided, she shall meet the approval of the physician.

But there are certain physical conditions which necessitate the employment of a hired wet-nurse, or weaning.

Therefore, if for any reason the mother cannot nurse her own child, a hired wet-nurse should be procured.


Related Words




wet mopwet one's whistle