from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of fostering; nurturance or promotion.
  • noun The act or custom of placing a child with a foster parent or parents, especially when practiced as a traditional childrearing method in certain societies.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of fostering, nursing:, or nourishing; specifically, the rearing of another's child as one's own, in the relation of foster-parent and foster-child.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The care of a foster child; the charge of nursing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An act of fostering another's child as if it were your own.
  • noun A condition of being the foster child.
  • noun Promoting or encouragement given by act or word.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community
  • noun encouragement; aiding the development of something


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


    Date: 1614

    1 : the act of fostering

    2 : a custom once prevalent in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland of entrusting one's child to foster parents to be brought up

    February 14, 2008