There are 2 main definitions of nurse in English:

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nurse 1

Syllabification: nurse


1A person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital.
Example sentences
  • To be valuable health care practitioners, nurses must commit to lifelong learning.
  • The circulating perioperative nurse applies warm blankets to the patient to prevent hypothermia.
  • The charity also employs oncology care nurses at key hospitals throughout Ireland.
caregiver, RN, LPN, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, health care worker
informal Florence Nightingale
1.1 dated A person employed or trained to take charge of young children: her mother’s old nurse
More example sentences
  • She takes refuge with her old nurse, Denis's mother, and Denis falls in love with her little daughter Agnes.
  • There, her old nurse recognizes the goblet, which the trolls had stolen when they abducted her long ago.
  • But Canada's nanny is not just the caring nurse; she's also a strict governess.
nanny, nursemaid, governess, au pair, babysitter;
wet nurse
1.2 archaic A wet nurse.
Example sentences
  • Henry III sent his old nurse, Helen of Winchester, underwood for her fire.
1.3 [often as modifier] Forestry A tree or crop planted as a shelter to others.
Example sentences
  • In this situation, we plant the hay seed into a nurse crop of winter wheat or spring oats.
  • If all of this is true, then to try starting any hay crop without chemicals, tillage or nurse crops will most likely end in failure.
  • He also offers a few thoughts on mixing nurse crops with your cover crops.
1.4 Entomology A worker bee, ant, or other social insect, caring for a young brood.
Example sentences
  • Nurse bees are special worker bees that attend the queen and the babies, or larvae, of the hive.
  • To gain access to the cell, she'll ride the belly side of a nurse bee, which is onsite to tend to the bee larva.


[with object] Back to top  
1Give medical and other attention to (a sick person): she nursed the girl through a dangerous illness
More example sentences
  • Later, when Pip falls sick, Joe nurses him back to health and pays off all of his debts.
  • During her first and second years at medical school Patrice nursed her own mother, who had terminal breast cancer.
  • The procedure also made it possible to discover that she developed these symptoms while she was nursing her sick father, something that was unknown to her.
care for, take care of, look after, tend, minister to
1.1 [no object] Care for the sick and infirm, especially as a profession: she nursed at the hospital for thirty years
More example sentences
  • A good few nurses who come here to work have some nursing experience, having nursed in hospitals abroad.
  • Sandra, whose parents, Alan and Violet Beattie still live at Langton Park, nursed in the Mater Hospital, Dublin before doing agency nursing in Naas.
  • In that same year a Fever Hospital, Infirmary and Dispensary were incorporated into the workhouse buildings and the Saint John of God nuns began nursing in the hospital.
1.2Try to cure or alleviate (an injury, injured part, or illness) by treating it carefully and protectively: he has been nursing a cold figurative he nursed his hurt pride
More example sentences
  • He's not the type of player to nurse an injury, so the team should be careful with how it uses him.
  • Dale Heidtmann is still nursing a foot injury but lock Phillip Schutte returns to the reserve bench.
  • Day after day, I nursed the wound, looking forward to healing, but pus continued to drain from the incision site, helped by the wick that I had thoughtfully inserted.
treat, medicate, tend;
dress, bandage, soothe, doctor
1.3Hold closely and carefully or caressingly: he nursed his small case on his lap
More example sentences
  • Tracking back in support of his besieged full-back, Arjen Robben seemed in control as he nursed the ball towards the end-line and used his superior size to hold off Messi.
  • We figured we would just nurse the ball and get into field goal position.
1.4Hold (a cup or glass) in one’s hands, drinking from it occasionally: I nursed a double brandy
More example sentences
  • During his wait, Perez ordered himself a Bloody Mary and he was nursing the drink, sipping occasionally as he waited for Tan Ludlow.
  • After seven or eight bourbon and cokes in about an hour I started nursing my drinks because even in my inebriated state I valued my liver more than my pride at never getting outdrunk by a girl.
  • Sad to say, but I've been becoming a leather jacket wearing guy standing at the back of the venue, nursing my drink.
1.5Harbor (a belief or feeling), especially for a long time: I still nurse anger and resentment
More example sentences
  • Many Democratic voters have nursed feelings of anger and disenfranchisement for the past four years.
  • I nursed a secret longing to explore such places but the only reason I was ever allowed to climb another man's fence was if there was no bush handy to address a roadside bathroom emergency.
  • For days, Miss Nellie nursed a feeling of neglect.
harbor, foster, entertain, bear, have, hold (on to), cherish, cling to, retain
1.6Take special care of, especially to promote development or well-being: our political unity needs to be protected and nursed
More example sentences
  • This is the right moment to nurse it with care and concern, instead of leaving the youngsters frustrated.
  • Instead of developing players to international level, Scotland's pro teams have had to nurse youngsters up to a basic competitive standard which some never reach.
  • Benn recounts how, as his own death sentence appeared to lift, he nursed Caroline through terminal breast cancer.
1.7 Billiards Try to play strokes that keep (the balls) close together.
Example sentences
  • There is no doubt perioperative registered nursing is a worthy career that we need to recognize.
2Feed (a baby) at the breast: lionesses who were nursing their own cubs (as adjective nursing) nursing mothers
More example sentences
  • It begins in 1981 with a phone call at Christmas from a cycling track in Germany to an apartment in Ghent, Belgium, where a mother is nursing her infant son.
  • For instance, the oral stage can be seen as the emergence of symbolic capacity, in the complex biological matrix of a mother nursing her infant.
  • The mother often nurses an infant until the age of two.
breastfeed, suckle, feed;
2.1 [no object] Be fed at the breast: the baby snuffled as he nursed
More example sentences
  • The cub nursed at her breast with as little fear as the young child newly born she had left behind at home.
  • If your baby is premature or can't nurse right away after birth, you may have to feed the baby in other ways.
  • Placing very young children, especially nursing infants, with foster caretakers implied payment for the service.
2.2 (be nursed in) dated Be brought up in (a specified condition): he was nursed in the lap of plenty


Late Middle English: contraction of earlier nourice, from Old French, from late Latin nutricia, feminine of Latin nutricius '(person) that nourishes', from nutrix, nutric- 'nurse', from nutrire 'nourish'. The verb was originally a contraction of nourish, altered under the influence of the noun.

Words that rhyme with nurse

amerce, asperse, averse, biodiverse, burse, coerce, converse, curse, diverse, Erse, hearse, immerse, intersperse, perse, perverse, purse, reimburse, submerse, terce, terse, transverse, verse, worse
Definition of nurse in:
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There are 2 main definitions of nurse in English:

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nurse 2 Line breaks: nurse

Entry from British & World English dictionary

(also grey nurse)


A greyish Australian shark of shallow inshore waters. Compare with nurse shark, nurse hound.
  • Odontaspis arenarius, family Odontaspididae
Example sentences
  • Here a grey nurse shark gets among the baitfish.
  • Sand tiger sharks, known as the ‘grey nurse’ in Australia, have three rows of fierce-looking teeth, yellow eyes, a pointed snout, large and fleshy fins, and can reach lengths of ten feet or more.


Late 15th century: originally as nusse, perhaps derived (by wrong division) from an huss (see huss).

Definition of nurse in:
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