Open main menu




From Middle English nestelen, nestlen, from Old English nistlan, nestlian, nistlian (to make or build a nest), from Proto-Germanic *nistlōną (to build or occupy a nest; nestle), equivalent to nest +‎ -le. Cognate with Middle Low German nëstelen (to build a nest), Dutch nestelen (to nest, nestle).


  • IPA(key): /ˈnɛsəl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛsəl


nestle (third-person singular simple present nestles, present participle nestling, simple past and past participle nestled)

  1. To settle oneself comfortably and snugly.
    • 1915 April, Annie Besant, “The Servants of India Society”, in Speeches & Writings of Annie Besant, 3rd edition, Madras: G. A. Natesan & Co., published September 1921, OCLC 551657311, page 281:
      In the work that it [the Servants of India Society] will do in the future it will be the spirit of Mr. [Gopal Krishna] Gokhale that will inspire it. So I would remind you that while you raise a statue to his public honour, do not forget what matters more, the hope that ever nestled warmly in his heart, that is nearest and dearest to those who imitate him, throwing away everything of this world and burning upon the altar of their country in sacrifice all that the world could give of joy and wealth, []
  2. To press oneself against another affectionately.
  3. (intransitive) To lie half-hidden or in shelter.
    The old shop nestled between the newer apartment buildings.
    • Francis Bacon
      Their purpose was to fortify in some strong place of the wild country, and there nestle till succours came.
  4. (archaic, ornithology, intransitive) To build or sit upon a nest.
    • L'Estrange
      The kingfisher [] nestles in hollow banks.
  5. (archaic, ornithology, transitive) Of a bird: to look after its young.
    • 1871, Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist (volume 31, page 123)
      This assimilates them more nearly to the natural conditions when the hen nestles her chicks on the earth, whilst the warmth is given chiefly over their backs.
  6. (transitive) To move or place into a comfortable position
    • William S. Woodbridge
      She made no answer, but her fingers nervously nestled the leaves of a book.
    • 2010, Sarah Tyler, Panthera Leo and the Call of Destiny, →ISBN, page 124:
      With as little of movement as possible, Aeon nestled her head closer to his chest, even more inder his chin.


  • (to settle oneself comfortably): settle
  • (to press oneself against another affectionately): cuddle, snuggle

Related termsEdit





  1. First-person singular present of nesteln.
  2. First-person singular subjunctive I of nesteln.
  3. Third-person singular subjunctive I of nesteln.
  4. Imperative singular of nesteln.