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

  • intransitive verb To settle snugly and comfortably.
  • intransitive verb To lie in a sheltered position.
  • intransitive verb To draw or press close, as in affection; snuggle.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To nest.
  • intransitive verb To snuggle or press contentedly.
  • intransitive verb To place or settle as if in a nest.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make or use a nest; have a nesting-place: said chiefly of birds.
  • To lie close and snug, as a bird in her nest.
  • To dispose one's self comfortably for rest or repose; snuggle; cuddle.
  • To provide with a nest; house or shelter; settle as in a nest: often used reflexively.
  • To cherish; fondle closely; cuddle, as a bird her young.

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

  • transitive verb To house, as in a nest.
  • transitive verb To cherish, as a bird her young.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To make and occupy a nest; to nest.
  • intransitive verb To lie close and snug, as a bird in her nest; to cuddle up; to settle, as in a nest; to harbor; to take shelter.
  • intransitive verb To move about in one's place, like a bird when shaping the interior of her nest or a young bird getting close to the parent.

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

  • verb To settle oneself comfortably and snugly.
  • verb To press oneself against another affectionately.
  • verb To lie half-hidden or in shelter.
  • verb archaic, ornithology To build or sit upon a nest.

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

  • noun a close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace
  • verb lie in a sheltered position
  • verb position comfortably
  • verb move or arrange oneself in a comfortable and cozy position


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English nestlen, to make a nest, from Old English nestlian, from nest, nest.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English nestlian, "make a nest", derived from nest+-lian.


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  • ...Swarms of minnows show their little heads,

    Staying their waxy bodies 'gainst the streams,

    To taste the luxury of sunny beams

    Tempered with coolness. How they ever wrestle

    With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle

    Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand.

    - John Keats, 'Minnows'.

    November 8, 2008