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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).



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

  1. To settle oneself comfortably and snugly.
  2. To press oneself against another affectionately.
  3. 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 1608444279, 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.