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

  • noun A person trained to provide medical care for the sick or disabled, especially one who is licensed and works in a hospital or physician's office.
  • noun A person employed to take care of a young child.
  • noun A woman employed to suckle children other than her own; a wet nurse.
  • noun One that serves as a nurturing or fostering influence or means.
  • noun Zoology A worker ant or bee that feeds and cares for the colony's young.
  • intransitive verb To serve as a nurse for.
  • intransitive verb To cause or allow to take milk from the breast.
  • intransitive verb To feed at the breast of; suckle.
  • intransitive verb To try to cure by special care or treatment.
  • intransitive verb To treat carefully, especially in order to prevent pain.
  • intransitive verb To manage or guide carefully; look after with care; foster: synonym: nurture.
  • intransitive verb To bear privately in the mind.
  • intransitive verb To consume slowly, especially in order to conserve.
  • intransitive verb To serve as a nurse.
  • intransitive verb To take nourishment from the breast; suckle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To suckle; nourish at the breast; feed and tend generally in infancy.
  • To rear; nurture; bring up.
  • To tend in sickness or infirmity; take care of: as, to nurse an invalid or an aged person.
  • To promote growth or vigor in; encourage; foster; care for with the intent or effect of promoting growth, increase, development, etc.
  • To caress; fondle; dandle.
  • To Cheat.
  • Synonyms Nourish, etc. See nurture, v. t.
  • To act as nurse; specifically, to suckle a child: as, a nursing woman.
  • noun In entomology, one of the worker-ants or worker-bees whose function in the colony is to care for the young brood.
  • In billiards, formerly, to make a number of consecutive caroms, as rapid as dainty, off (balls) held but an inch or two apart.
  • noun A woman who nourishes or suckles an infant; specifically, a woman who suckles the infant of another: commonly called a wet-nurse; also, a female servant who has the core of a child or of children.
  • noun Hence, one who or that which nurtures, trains, cherishes, or protects.
  • noun One who has the care of a sick or infirm person, as an attendant in a hospital.
  • noun In the United States navy, a sick-bay attendant, formerly called loblolly-boy.
  • noun The state of being nursed or in the care of a nurse: as, to put out a child to nurse.
  • noun In horticulture, a shrub or tree which protects a young plant.
  • noun In ichthyology, a name of various sharks of inactive habits, which rest for a long time or bask in the water.
  • noun A blastozoöid. See the quotation.
  • noun In brewing, a cask of hot or cold water immersed in wort. See the quotation.
  • noun A nurse-frog.

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

  • noun One who nourishes; a person who supplies food, tends, or brings up; as: (a) A woman who has the care of young children; especially, one who suckles an infant not her own. (b) A person, especially a woman, who has the care of the sick or infirm.
  • noun One who, or that which, brings up, rears, causes to grow, trains, fosters, or the like.
  • noun (Naut.) A lieutenant or first officer, who is the real commander when the captain is unfit for his place.
  • noun A peculiar larva of certain trematodes which produces cercariæ by asexual reproduction. See Cercaria, and Redia.
  • noun Either one of the nurse sharks.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A large shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum), native of the West Indies and Gulf of Mexico, having the dorsal fins situated behind the ventral fins.
  • noun to send away to be nursed; to place in the care of a nurse.
  • noun See Wet nurse, and Dry nurse, in the Vocabulary.
  • transitive verb To nourish; to cherish; to foster.
  • transitive verb To nourish at the breast; to suckle; to feed and tend, as an infant.


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

[Middle English norice, nurse, wet nurse, from Old French norrice, from Vulgar Latin *nutrīcia, from Late Latin nūtrīcia, from feminine of Latin nūtrīcius, that suckles, from nūtrīx, nūtrīc-, wet nurse; see (s)nāu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variant form of the archaic nourice, from Old French norrice, from Latin nutricius ("that nourishes"), from nutrix ("wet nurse"), from nutrire ("to suckle").


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