See also: Nurse

English edit

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Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English norice, from Old French norrice, from Late Latin nūtrīcia, noun based on Latin nūtrīcius (that which nourishes), from nūtrīx (wet nurse), from nūtriō (to suckle).

Alternative forms edit

Noun edit

nurse (plural nurses)

  1. A person trained to provide care for the sick.
    The nurse made her rounds through the hospital ward.
    • 1990, Andrew Davies, Michael Dobbs, House of Cards, season 1, episode 4:
      Francis Urquhart: Right. Mackenzie. Health. No chance of getting him into a demo at a hospital, I suppose?
      Tim Stamper: Doesn't go to hospitals any more. Kept getting beaten up by the nurses... I think he has trouble getting insured now.
  2. A person (usually a woman) who takes care of other people’s young.
    They hired a nurse to care for their young boy.
  3. (figurative) One who, or that which, brings up, rears, causes to grow, trains, or fosters.
    Eton College has been called "the chief nurse of England's statesmen".
  4. (horticulture) A shrub or tree that protects a young plant.
  5. (nautical) A lieutenant or first officer who takes command when the captain is unfit for his place.
  6. A larva of certain trematodes, which produces cercariae by asexual reproduction.
  7. (archaic) A wet nurse.
Usage notes edit
  • Some speakers consider nurses (medical workers) to be female by default, and thus use "male nurse" to refer to a man doing the same job.
Derived terms edit
Descendants edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb edit

nurse (third-person singular simple present nurses, present participle nursing, simple past and past participle nursed)

  1. (transitive) To breastfeed: to feed (a baby) at the breast; to suckle.
    She believes that nursing her baby will make him strong and healthy.
  2. (intransitive) To breastfeed: to be fed at the breast.
  3. (transitive) To care for (someone), especially in sickness; to tend to.
    She nursed him back to health.
  4. (transitive) To treat kindly and with extra care.
    She nursed the rosebush and that season it bloomed.
  5. (transitive) To manage with care and economy.
    Synonym: husband
  6. (transitive) To drink slowly, to make it last.
    Rob was nursing a small beer.
  7. (transitive) To foster, to nourish.
    • 2020 April 10, Stephen Buranyi, “The WHO v coronavirus: why it can't handle the pandemic”, in The Guardian[1]:
      If, like me, you have been confined to your home, glued to the news and nursing ever greater anxiety about the state of the world, you have probably become familiar with the sight of the World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and his daily press briefings.
  8. To hold closely to one's chest
    Would you like to nurse the puppy?
  9. (billiards, transitive) To strike (billiard balls) gently, so as to keep them in good position during a series of shots.
    • 1866, United States. Congress. Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Supplemental report of the Joint Committee:
      It is to our interest to let Lee and Johnston come together, just as a billiard-player would nurse the balls when he has them in a nice place
Usage notes edit

In sense “to drink slowly”, generally negative and particularly used for someone at a bar, suggesting they either cannot afford to buy another drink or are too miserly to do so. By contrast, sip is more neutral.

Synonyms edit
Translations edit

See also edit

Further reading edit

Etymology 2 edit

Uncertain; earlier (16th century) nusse, nuse. Perhaps from huss, through metanalysis of "an huss" as "a nuss".

Noun edit

nurse (plural nurses)

  1. A nurse shark or dogfish.
Derived terms edit

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of norice