Definition of wet nurse in English:

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wet nurse


chiefly historical
A woman employed to suckle another woman’s child.
Example sentences
  • The fourth type of wet-nursing developed when the Church and the State employed wet nurses to suckle foundlings in institutions created for saving souls and lives.
  • From the beginning there was a practical obstacle to the proselytising: the hospital soon ran out of Protestant wet nurses.
  • The women went away, too, to work as wet nurses in Paris and elsewhere.


1 (wet-nurse) [with object] Act as a wet nurse to.
Example sentences
  • They paid them, wet-nursed them, mind them, breed them, fed them and nurtured them, the Opposition Leader said.
  • Chapman, the literary magazine that the redoubtable Joy Hendry has wet-nursed from infancy, is celebrating its 100th issue after more than 30 years of continuous publication.
  • As an infant, he was farmed out to be wet-nursed, and although his mother would come to visit occasionally, he spent the first five or six years of his life in the working-class family of Eugenia and Milziade Baldi and their two sons.
1.1 informal Look after (someone) as though they were a helpless infant: I got tired of having to wet-nurse performers
More example sentences
  • Yet, the reality is that many directors tend to do just that - especially if they're stressed out newbies who have better things to do (they believe) than to wet-nurse a crybaby actor.
  • I get annoyed when people force their hand-holding, wet-nursing systems down my throat.
  • Blackstone grumbled to himself; ‘Demoted to wet-nursing aspiring pilots.’

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wet nurse

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