What does nurture mean?

Definitions for nurture
ˈnɜr tʃərnur·ture

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word nurture.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. raising, rearing, nurturenoun

    the properties acquired as a consequence of the way you were treated as a child

  2. breeding, bringing up, fostering, fosterage, nurture, raising, rearing, upbringingverb

    helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community

    "they debated whether nature or nurture was more important"

  3. foster, nurtureverb

    help develop, help grow

    "nurture his talents"

  4. rear, raise, bring up, nurture, parentverb

    bring up

    "raise a family"; "bring up children"

  5. nourish, nurture, sustainverb

    provide with nourishment

    "We sustained ourselves on bread and water"; "This kind of food is not nourishing for young children"


  1. nurturenoun

    The act of nourishing or nursing; tender care; education; training.

  2. nurturenoun

    That which nourishes; food; diet.

  3. nurturenoun

    The environmental influences that contribute to the development of an individual; see also nature.

  4. nurtureverb

    to nourish or nurse

  5. Etymology: From norture, noriture, from norriture, norreture, from nutritura, from nutrire.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. NURTUREnoun

    Etymology: contracted from nourriture, French.

    For this did th’ angel twice descend?
    Ordain’d thy nurture holy, as of a plant
    Select and sacred. John Milton, Agonistes.

    She should take order for bringing up of wards in good nurture, not suffer them to come into bad hands. Edmund Spenser.

    The thorny point
    Of bare distress, hath ta’en from me the shew
    Of smooth civility; yet am I inland bred,
    And know some nurture. William Shakespeare, As you like it.

  2. To Nurtureverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Thou broughtest it up with thy righteousness, and nurturedst it in thy law, and reformedst it with thy judgment. 2 Esdr. viii. 12.

    He was nurtured where he had been born in his first rudiments, till the years of ten. Henry Wotton.

    When an insolent despiser of discipline, nurtured into impudence, shall appear before a church governour, severity and resolution are that governour’s virtues. South.

    They suppose mother earth to be a great animal, and to have nurtured up her young offspring with a conscious tenderness. Richard Bentley, Serm.


  1. nurture

    Nature versus nurture is a long-standing debate in biology and society about the balance between two competing factors which determine fate: genetics (nature) and environment (nurture). The alliterative expression "nature and nurture" in English has been in use since at least the Elizabethan period and goes back to medieval French.The complementary combination of the two concepts is an ancient concept (Ancient Greek: ἁπό φύσεως καὶ εὐτροφίας). Nature is what people think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception e.g. the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual. The phrase in its modern sense was popularized by the Victorian polymath Francis Galton, the modern founder of eugenics and behavioral genetics when he was discussing the influence of heredity and environment on social advancement. Galton was influenced by On the Origin of Species written by his half-cousin, the evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from "nurture" was termed tabula rasa ('blank tablet, slate') by John Locke in 1690. A blank slate view (sometimes termed blank-slatism) in human developmental psychology, which assumes that human behavioral traits develop almost exclusively from environmental influences, was widely held during much of the 20th century. The debate between "blank-slate" denial of the influence of heritability, and the view admitting both environmental and heritable traits, has often been cast in terms of nature versus nurture. These two conflicting approaches to human development were at the core of an ideological dispute over research agendas throughout the second half of the 20th century. As both "nature" and "nurture" factors were found to contribute substantially, often in an inextricable manner, such views were seen as naive or outdated by most scholars of human development by the 21st century.The strong dichotomy of nature versus nurture has thus been claimed to have limited relevance in some fields of research. Close feedback loops have been found in which nature and nurture influence one another constantly, as seen in self-domestication. In ecology and behavioral genetics, researchers think nurture has an essential influence on nature. Similarly in other fields, the dividing line between an inherited and an acquired trait becomes unclear, as in epigenetics or fetal development.


  1. nurture

    Nurture refers to the care and attention given to someone or something that influences their development. This could involve supporting, educating, protecting or encouraging growth in a physical, social, emotional, or intellectual sense. It can apply to concepts such as child rearing or the growth of ideas, projects, or relationships.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Nurturenoun

    the act of nourishing or nursing; thender care; education; training

  2. Nurturenoun

    that which nourishes; food; diet

  3. Nurtureverb

    to feed; to nourish

  4. Nurtureverb

    to educate; to bring or train up

  5. Etymology: [OE. norture, noriture, OF. norriture, norreture, F. nourriture, fr. L. nutritura a nursing, suckling. See Nourish.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Nurture

    nurt′ūr, n. act of nursing or nourishing: nourishment: education: instruction.—v.t. to nourish: to bring up: to educate.—n. Nurt′urer. [O. Fr. noriture (Fr. nourriture)—Low L. nutritura—L. nutrīre, to nourish.]

Editors Contribution

  1. nurture

    To support with love and understanding.

    They always chose to nurture their children, ensuring they listened, had lots of fun together and knew that discussion really had its place at their kitchen table so every voice is heard.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 15, 2020  

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How to pronounce nurture?

How to say nurture in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of nurture in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of nurture in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of nurture in a Sentence

  1. Wang Jianlin:

    Both Wanda and Adidas share a number of common goals, both in a commercial sense and in our genuine desire to nurture sport not only in China but around the world.

  2. Nancy Hurst:

    You need to just enjoy the relationship -- that is most important to nurture the mother-baby relationship. Even if at times that doesn't mean exclusive breastfeeding.

  3. Mickey Mehta:

    Most people suffer in life because they ruin and sacrifice a certain beautiful today, for a hope of an uncertain glorious tomorrow. If today you destroy a potential seed, how will it flower tomorrow sow and nurture all the seeds today and MickeyMize your life! Share this with as many for a fragrant world.

  4. Rabbi Harold Kushner:

    Everything that God created is potentially holy, and our task as humans is to find that holiness in seemingly unholy situations. When we can do this, we will have learned to nurture our souls.

  5. Jay Olson:

    Our results suggest that age, gender and location are not limiting factors : Almost anyone can be creative, having more methods to measure creativity means that we can better assess the success of various different methods to promote and nurture creativity.

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Translations for nurture

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"nurture." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/nurture>.

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    fill with high spirits; fill with optimism
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