Definition of nanny in English:



  • 1A person, typically a woman, employed to look after a child in its own home.

    • ‘With both parents working, many children are today cared for in a shared arrangement between the parents and others, such as nurseries, nannies, and child-minders.’
    • ‘The majority don't work but, however rich they may be, neither do they employ childminders or nannies.’
    • ‘One thing we will see a lot more of is nanny-sharing, where two families will join up to employ a nanny and the children mix.’
    • ‘And after she graduated, she looked through postings for a nanny placement service that was available and found one that sounded like a family she wanted to work for.’
    • ‘Critics from both the right and the left accuse middle-class women of neglecting their children and exploiting the immigrant women they employ as nannies and housekeepers.’
    • ‘There was no shortage of cash to employ nannies or to send the children to the most expensive private schools.’
    • ‘Do you now, or have you ever, employed a live-in nanny or helper?’
    • ‘Earlier this year, the Revenue promised anyone employing a nanny, and paying tax and national insurance on her behalf, a £250 tax rebate for filling in the return online.’
    • ‘This means that parents would need an income of at least £40,000 just to cover the costs of employing a nanny.’
    • ‘Men have a limited role in child-rearing, which is primarily the responsibility of the mother and female relatives or nannies.’
    • ‘Although father had employed governesses and nannies for our care during the time he was away, Olga took the most care of us.’
    • ‘So obviously it is better for the economy that women work and employ maids or nannies.’
    • ‘Neither Shawn nor I believe in employing a nanny for the children.’
    • ‘The £50 vouchers will be welcomed by families that employ a nanny, but many are angry at the government's portrayal of the extension of the tax credit.’
    • ‘There have been wet nurses and nannies for generations, for centuries.’
    • ‘Many nurses came from the Philippines to work in Britain's overstretched health service and for private agencies - and a nanny agency is now helping their relatives to seek domestic work.’
    • ‘This time it's nannies who are sucking our wallets dry: the revelation being that families in the capital who employ a daytime nanny are paying an average of £27,000 a year.’
    • ‘The number one cost is childcare, which can run into thousands, be it nurseries, nannies, child minders, au pairs, after school clubs or holiday play schemes.’
    • ‘She also once worked as a nanny in Sydney, but was left destitute when three female flatmates walked out leaving her with bills to pay.’
    • ‘He said the airline would be investing heavily in in-flight meals and entertainment and would also offer a nanny service and Indian head massage for passengers.’
    governess, nursery nurse, nurserymaid, childminder, au pair, childcarer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person or institution regarded as interfering and overprotective.
      • ‘But critics believe some of the new advice may be driven by political correctness and a nanny state approach.’
      • ‘That would be the over-zealous interference of the nanny state.’
      • ‘These laws were designed not to protect the public health - the nanny state had still to be invented - but to stop poor people poaching.’
      • ‘Family life and the licensed trade aren't its only casualties: it is helping to turn this country with its natural sense of freedom into a nanny state.’
      • ‘This choice should lie with individual proprietors and is not a decision to be made by an interfering nanny state!’
      • ‘This too was the nanny state interfering, unenforceable, an infringement of civil liberty.’
  • 2British informal One's grandmother.

    • ‘It makes death a lot less painful to accept, especially for children, knowing they will one day again see their nanny / grandad/auntie etc.’
  • 3A female goat.

    • ‘When his wife brought home a nanny goat in January 2002 from the vet clinic where she works, this couple never suspected it would help them launch a profitable niche business.’
    • ‘He also raises 300 fed cattle, 300 nanny goats and grows 350 acres of crops.’
    • ‘I watched her swell, taking on the full mass of an Alpine nanny goat, not the petite female she usually went about as.’
    • ‘More mild mannered than full-sized goats, these little billies and nannies have become the latest must-have pets for Christmas.’
    • ‘He said: ‘We've gradually built up the numbers to the current 500 animals and began to produce milk on a small scale after the nanny goats produced kids in February and March this year.’’
    • ‘But in the evenings she milked two of the nanny goats outside.’
    • ‘In fact, I bleated at it like an aging nanny goat.’
    • ‘She and her brother also spent time at their father's wood yard in Chiswick, where they looked after the family's nanny goat and white-haired terrier dog.’
    • ‘Surgeons cut a piece from the back of a nanny goat, whose hair resembled all that was left of the girl's fringe, and grafted it to her head.’
    • ‘This year you too could buy someone in a low income country a mosquito net or a nanny goat.’


  • 1no object Work as a nanny.

    ‘nannying and au pair work are not well paid’
    • ‘‘There's always a huge sense of loss attached to nannying which never gets spoken about,’ she says.’
    • ‘Supernanny Jo's practical, no-nonsense style was honed over 15 years of nannying in the UK and the US.’
    • ‘By this point, I had already twice called the people I nanny for to tell them I didn't know how I'd be back home at all this week.’
    • ‘In a scheme being piloted for the first time outside London, affluent city workers can employ Filipino housekeepers, who combine nannying skills with domestic service.’
    • ‘I'll admit, I've done quite a bit of nannying (and have younger siblings) and although there were eating issues, it was never quite like this.’
    • ‘I had done a few nannying jobs but they hadn't worked out either.’
    • ‘She worked picking cotton, being a field hand, and then at Melrose Plantation moved from doing the laundry to cook and nanny for the Henry children.’
    • ‘They should never have had any doubts about the seriousness with which she would take her nannying duties.’
    • ‘And I'd say when I started nannying, I knew I was going to be OK.’
    • ‘There are management jobs available, while nannying, or running your own nursery or childminding business can reap financial rewards.’
    • ‘Tessa didn't do that very well; she chose instead to write, to nanny for a living, and to apply to graduate school to study Victorian novels.’
    • ‘Of course, Bumbershoot is this weekend, and I have four days off from nannying, so I'm hoping that I get a chance to do some fun stuff.’
    • ‘He said: ‘I'd like to go into nannying rather than a nursery because you are in a family environment.’’
    • ‘She told her boss, the mother of the two children she nannied.’
  • 2with object Be overprotective towards.

    ‘his well-intentioned nannying’
    • ‘It's as if the regulator is telling us we could do better than this which could be seen as admirably taking a stand or overly nannying in its approach.’
    • ‘It was my role - apparently - to decode the story, suggest its origins, play down its significance and generally nanny him into a better humour.’
    • ‘After about another half an hour of questions, she had decided that I was fit to nanny her daughter.’
    • ‘It was lovely, not only to go diving but to be nannied and coddled for 20 minutes.’
    • ‘Oddly, these TV wreck detectives are always trying to find out something which the experienced real divers nannying them around the wreck discovered when they first dived the ship 20 years ago.’
    • ‘As a result, their customers have grown used to being nannied.’
    • ‘Having said that, I'm not in favour of a ban, because I'm a liberal at heart, and don't think government has any place nannying people.’
    • ‘We've been nannied for so long that we've forgotten how to do anything for ourselves.’
    • ‘The conservative position is one of limited government and a belief that people should be allowed to take responsibility for their own lives rather than being nannied by the state.’
    • ‘All depends how paternalistic - or nannying - we, as a society, choose to be.’
    • ‘I believe people are most likely to be happy when they are masters of their own lives, when they are not nannied, except for adult babies.’
    • ‘The issue is far more complex than saying this is a matter of middle-class nannying or this is a matter of free choice.’
    • ‘No doubt they have been used to employ some more bureaucrats to nanny us some more.’
    • ‘I believe people are happiest when they are masters of their own lives, when they are not nannied or over-governed.’
    • ‘Well, sort of: in the real world, your first job is more likely to involve spirit-crushing manual labour than it is nannying a precocious tyke with whom you can exchange valuable life-lessons.’
    • ‘Officers won't be finger-pointing and nannying but having some banter with the teenagers.’
    • ‘Many of their strictures are sheer nannying about the obvious, which hardly merits its respectable disguise in the shreds of theory.’
    • ‘There should be adult supervised meting places like we had, but not of the type that will interfere and nanny them.’
    • ‘The Government seems to veer between absurd nannying half the time then throwing the rule book away the rest.’
    • ‘All in all the time it took to nurture and nanny my darlings, each with its own very different requirements, through twelve months of the year was quite out of proportion to the return.’
    • ‘People do not react well to this kind of nannying.’
    • ‘I have not yet been given a sensible answer to that question, possibly because my reasoning is too logical and lacking enough restrictive nannying for the anti-everything brigade.’


Early 18th century: pet form of the given name Ann. The verb dates from the 1950s.