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

  • intransitive v. To settle snugly and comfortably: The cat nestled among the pillows.
  • intransitive v. To lie in a sheltered position: a cottage that nestles in the wood.
  • intransitive v. To draw or press close, as in affection; snuggle: The child nestled up to her mother.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To nest.
  • transitive v. To snuggle or press contentedly: The baby nestled its head on my shoulder.
  • transitive v. To place or settle as if in a nest: I nestled the puppy in my arms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To make and occupy a nest; to nest.
  • intransitive v. 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 v. 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.
  • transitive v. To house, as in a nest.
  • transitive v. To cherish, as a bird her young.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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


Middle English nestlen, to make a nest, from Old English nestlian, from nest, nest.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English nestlian, "make a nest", derived from nest+-lian. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • ...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