Definition of nest in English:


Syllabification: nest
Pronunciation: /nest


  • 1A structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young.
    More example sentences
    • First, the flight trajectory will obviously depend on the way in which a bird will enter its nest site.
    • The young leave the nest soon after they hatch and find their own food immediately.
    • Again the attraction is bird watching, especially pied shags feeding the young birds in their nests, great crested grebe and large numbers of paradise ducks.
  • 1.1A place where an animal or insect breeds or shelters: an ants' nest
    More example sentences
    • Insect nests have guards who deter entry by both conspecific and allospecific intruders.
    • They use their long claws to expose the insect's nests.
    • Just as humans keep cows for their milk, certain ant species rear aphids and other insects in their nests and consume their secretions.
    lair, den, burrow
  • 1.2A person’s snug or secluded retreat or shelter.
    More example sentences
    • No sooner are you snug in your new nest than you find that units on your floor are being used as a hotel, with people coming and going.
    • His library became a nest, a retreat of perfect ideas perfectly poised.
    • Many of these hill stations began life as long ago as the 1820s, when early British settlers first sought nests in attractive locations.
  • 1.3A bowl-shaped object likened to a bird’s nest: arrange in nests of lettuce leaves
    More example sentences
    • My God, each box is a perfect reduced-impact nest of quality bubble wrap.
    • When I make these for the real event I'm going to make bowls or nests for the apples to sit in so no one has to tear away spiky sugar.
    • Maybe we could have made some raspberry vinaigrette, draped ourselves over a nest of baby greens, if you know what I mean.
  • 1.4A place filled with or frequented by undesirable people or things: a nest of spies
    More example sentences
    • He also discovers a nest of intrigue, decadence and a heathen willingness to murder people very casually if they get in your way.
    • Most charges focus on the Mafia's control of New York's waterfront, vast and beautiful, but for years a nest of corruption.
    • They know what it means to be tiny spots on the map, remembered only if embroiled in a terrible conflict that turns the whole region into a nest of unrest.
    hotbed, den, breeding ground, cradle
  • 2A set of similar objects of graduated sizes, made so that each smaller one fits into the next in size for storage: a nest of tables
    More example sentences
    • In the burial chamber, a nest of four golden shrines, each sitting within the other, are removed, to reveal a stone sarcophagus.
    • They have been flying out of her shop, which is why she has extended the range of Ercol reissues to include a settle, a dining table and a nest of tables.
    • I sit on a sofa that is part of an old three-piece suite around a nest of tables.


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  • 1 [no object] (Of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest: the owls often nest in barns (as adjective nesting) do not disturb nesting birds
    More example sentences
    • The Dismal supports a hundred different bird species nesting within the refuge; another hundred are known to use the area.
    • This protected bird species had nested at the Baltic for many years and had to be moved to specially built nesting areas further down the river.
    • The birds of prey have nested at the site since 2001 and were the first to do so in the Lake District for 150 years.
  • 2 [with object] Fit (an object or objects) inside a larger one: the town is nested inside a large crater on the flanks of a volcano
    More example sentences
    • Then I decided to nest Bonobo inside, and they got even clearer.
    • I was explaining how you get more crockery in if you nest the little bowls inside the big bowls when I sensed that Mel was somehow not with me.
    • The disk is nested inside an elliptical ring of older, cooler, redder stars, which was seen in previous Hubble and ground-based observations.
  • 2.1 [no object] (Of a set of objects) fit inside one another: Russian dolls that nest inside one another
    More example sentences
    • This pursuit of knowledge becomes a set of dolls nested within other dolls, the desire to fit and the desire to contrast plays into a choral performance on the theme of instability of all categories of life and knowing.
    • In the 28 January print issue of PRL, researchers calculate that a group of concentric nanotubes nested inside an outer set of tubes can slide back and forth a billion times every second.
    • Still, only golf sets up its challenges in such a tidy row, a telescoping succession like that of Russian dolls nested one inside the other.
  • 2.2(Especially in computing and linguistics) place (an object or element) in a hierarchical arrangement, typically in a subordinate position: (as adjective nested) organisms classified in a series of nested sets
    More example sentences
    • This can be accomplished by nesting elements under the parent element.
    • The enterprise edition of this software allows for companies to manage multiple, nested clusters of computing grids that are spread around an office complex or campus across multiple networks.
    • The RANDOM statement of this procedure was used because the haploid random factor was nested within the series factor.



Pronunciation: /-ˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural nestfuls)
More example sentences
  • To charm wavering Tories, the Lib Dems have grabbed a nestful of shiny rightwing policies.
  • See a nestful of newly hatched wood ducks being told to take a 15-foot jump to join their mother in the lake below.


More example sentences
  • The arrangements form repeating units called stem cell niches and provide nest-like microenvironments that house the adult stem cells and their immediate daughter cells.
  • By adjusting the rate of withdrawal, rinsing, and drying, they could make the molecules bend back onto themselves like needle eyes, nooses, or even nest-like coils.
  • The first visible sign of sexual differentiation is the formation of a nest-like structure made of so-called Hülle cells.


Old English nest, of Germanic origin; related to Latin nidus, from the Indo-European bases of nether (meaning 'down') and sit.

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Pronunciation: məˈlôrd
used to address an English nobleman