Definition of nanny in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnani/

noun (plural nannies)

1A person, typically a woman, employed to look after a child in its own home.
Example sentences
  • One thing we will see a lot more of is nanny-sharing, where two families will join up to employ a nanny and the children mix.
  • The majority don't work but, however rich they may be, neither do they employ childminders or nannies.
  • The £50 vouchers will be welcomed by families that employ a nanny, but many are angry at the government's portrayal of the extension of the tax credit.
1.1A person or institution regarded as interfering and overprotective.
Example sentences
  • This too was the nanny state interfering, unenforceable, an infringement of civil liberty.
  • That would be the over-zealous interference of the nanny state.
  • This choice should lie with individual proprietors and is not a decision to be made by an interfering nanny state!
2British informal One’s grandmother.
Example sentences
  • It makes death a lot less painful to accept, especially for children, knowing they will one day again see their nanny / grandad/auntie etc.
3 (in full nanny goat) A female goat.
Example sentences
  • I watched her swell, taking on the full mass of an Alpine nanny goat, not the petite female she usually went about as.
  • Surgeons cut a piece from the back of a nanny goat, whose hair resembled all that was left of the girl's fringe, and grafted it to her head.
  • When his wife brought home a nanny goat in January 2002 from the vet clinic where she works, this couple never suspected it would help them launch a profitable niche business.

verb (nannies, nannying, nannied)

(usually as noun nannying)
1 [no object] Work as a nanny: nannying and au pair work are not well paid
More example sentences
  • He said: ‘I'd like to go into nannying rather than a nursery because you are in a family environment.’
  • There are management jobs available, while nannying, or running your own nursery or childminding business can reap financial rewards.
  • Of course, Bumbershoot is this weekend, and I have four days off from nannying, so I'm hoping that I get a chance to do some fun stuff.
2 [with object] Be overprotective towards: his well-intentioned nannying
More example sentences
  • Well, sort of: in the real world, your first job is more likely to involve spirit-crushing manual labour than it is nannying a precocious tyke with whom you can exchange valuable life-lessons.
  • The Government seems to veer between absurd nannying half the time then throwing the rule book away the rest.
  • Having said that, I'm not in favour of a ban, because I'm a liberal at heart, and don't think government has any place nannying people.



Example sentences
  • This is one area where the nanny state is not nannyish enough.
  • The main reason I haven't been to California before is their impertinent, nannyish tobacco fatwa.
  • Does that strike you as nannyish and make you a little queasy?


Early 18th century: pet form of the given name Ann. The verb dates from the 1950s.

  • Both for a person taking care of young children and in nanny-goat, this is a pet form of the name Ann. The nanny state is found from the 1960s. Nan (1940s) is an abbreviation of nanny and a child's pronunciation of gran.

Words that rhyme with nanny

Annie, ca'canny, canny, cranny, Danny, granny, tranny

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: nanny

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