Definition of nest in English:

nest

noun

  • 1A structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young:

    ‘two sparrows frantically building a nest’
    [as modifier] ‘a nest site’
    • ‘The female stays on the nest and broods the young for the first week or so after they hatch.’
    • ‘Again the attraction is bird watching, especially pied shags feeding the young birds in their nests, great crested grebe and large numbers of paradise ducks.’
    • ‘When they are raising young or robbing nests, Steller's Jays become very quiet and inconspicuous.’
    • ‘Columbids will re-use nests and will build nests on top of abandoned bird nests.’
    • ‘The young leave the nest within a day of hatching and follow their parents out into the marsh.’
    • ‘Brood parasitic birds lay eggs in the nests of host birds that raise the parasitic offspring to independence.’
    • ‘Last summer, Caitlin observed bald eaglets fledging from nests at two sites.’
    • ‘Once the young leave the nest, the parents continue to feed them for about a week.’
    • ‘The young leave the nest soon after they hatch and find their own food immediately.’
    • ‘All birds in the nest need protein, the kind that comes from any type of bug.’
    • ‘One to three days after hatching, the young leave the nest and hide in nearby cover.’
    • ‘Both birds work at nest building, but before this begins there is much play.’
    • ‘The male feeds the female on the nest and helps her brood the young when they first hatch.’
    • ‘I've heard that when young birds leave the nest, parents will mob a lot more actively almost to show what is danger and what isn't.’
    • ‘While they are not highly territorial with their own species, they are aggressive toward other species and may drive native birds out of their nests.’
    • ‘But this year, the birds surprised conservationists by selecting a nest site deep in the forest.’
    • ‘After one day in the nest, the young leap to the ground or water, often quite a long jump.’
    • ‘They said this work should have been delayed until after the birds had nested and young had left the nests.’
    • ‘This bird was feeding young in a nest perched in the eaves of one of the temple buildings.’
    • ‘First, the flight trajectory will obviously depend on the way in which a bird will enter its nest site.’
    roost, eyrie
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    1. 1.1 A place where an insect or other animal breeds or shelters:
      ‘an ants' nest’
      • ‘Insect nests have guards who deter entry by both conspecific and allospecific intruders.’
      • ‘The second ant emerging from the nest in search of food was much more likely to follow the trail left by the first ant than to go in search of the second food source.’
      • ‘Eastern woodlands Aphaenogaster ants make twenty-inch-deep nests occupied by a few hundred workers.’
      • ‘Leaf-cutting ants travel from their nests to trees and hack off bits of leaves, which they grip in their mandibles.’
      • ‘In others, it may include completion of a rite of passage, such as getting buried up to your chin in an ant nest on your thirteenth birthday.’
      • ‘Instead of finding something for her to eat, she found a nest of large insects of the predatory variety.’
      • ‘EPS, polyurethane, and isocyanurate foam provide the ideal environment for an insect nest.’
      • ‘A typical army ant species lives in nests underground that are built out of the living bodies of its workers.’
      • ‘The majority of these insects build nests and therefore suitable nest sites must be maintained.’
      • ‘Which of them will prefer football and which the ant nest, we'll have to wait and see.’
      • ‘When the forest floor is blanketed in snow, the birds use their powerful bills to dig out ant nests from tree trunks and tree bases.’
      • ‘Emigrations were induced by removing the roof slide from the old nest, forcing the ants to find a new home.’
      • ‘Common wasps are social insects and live in nests of up to around 10,000 workers.’
      • ‘They use their long claws to expose the insect's nests.’
      • ‘And of course you can see green ant nests if you're walking through the bush throughout Australia, can't you?’
      • ‘The caterpillar is taken inside the ant nest where it promptly turns carnivorous and starts devouring its hosts' eggs and young.’
      • ‘Just as humans keep cows for their milk, certain ant species rear aphids and other insects in their nests and consume their secretions.’
      • ‘In the chaos, the wasp slips unnoticed through the ant nest and preys on the unguarded caterpillar.’
      • ‘Colin Marlow, 56, was attacked by the insects after disturbing a nest on his smallholding.’
      • ‘The pupation is often completed within the nest of the ants.’
      lair, den, drey, lodge, burrow, set, form
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    2. 1.2 Something in the form of a bowl or layer, used to hold, protect, or support something:
      ‘potato nests filled with okra’
      • ‘One of my personal favourites is the pisto manchego, a smoky-tasting sautéed veggie dish served in a crisp nest of shredded potato.’
      • ‘Mrs Jellyby, sitting in quite a nest of waste paper, drank coffee all the evening, and dictated at intervals to her eldest daughter.’
      • ‘Mrs Grey is, as I write, curled up on the floor of my study in a nest of patchwork pieces.’
      • ‘In the end I gave in and joined the two of them and then all three of us snoozed the rest of the day away, all snuggled together in a nest of warm wool.’
      • ‘Afterwards, fuelled by chocolate Santa heads, I would sit in a nest of crumpled, torn wrapping paper, impatient for the new year to move quickly.’
      • ‘Fill meringue nests by first adding some chopped mango, then a dollop of passion fruit cream, finishing off with more chopped mango.’
      • ‘Pull the baby runners back into the rows so they are not trodden on later, lifting the ripening berries up and carefully coddling each plant in a nest of straw.’
      • ‘The only person not in black is a child making a nest of stones near a cairn of rocks.’
      • ‘It was topped with a nest of straw potatoes and drizzled with a mustard and yoghurt dip.’
    3. 1.3 A person's snug or secluded retreat:
      ‘I'm off to my cosy nest’
      • ‘Make your bedroom a snug, safe nest, with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of distraction.’
      • ‘No sooner are you snug in your new nest than you find that units on your floor are being used as a hotel, with people coming and going.’
      • ‘His library became a nest, a retreat of perfect ideas perfectly poised.’
      • ‘Many of these hill stations began life as long ago as the 1820s, when early British settlers first sought nests in attractive locations.’
      hideaway, hiding place, hideout, retreat, shelter, refuge, snuggery, nook, den, haunt
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  • 2A place filled with undesirable people, activities, or things:

    ‘a nest of spies’
    • ‘They know what it means to be tiny spots on the map, remembered only if embroiled in a terrible conflict that turns the whole region into a nest of unrest.’
    • ‘But now U.S. forces feels it's a nest of former regime loyalists and anti coalition fighters.’
    • ‘It took me another three seminars to realise that I'd accidentally fallen into a nest of revolutionary socialists.’
    • ‘To wrap things up, he repeats that he sees the RA as a great opportunity, not as a nest of problems.’
    • ‘Most charges focus on the Mafia's control of New York's waterfront, vast and beautiful, but for years a nest of corruption.’
    • ‘A ‘bien-pensant liberal’ in a nest of high Tories, she works all the harder to be a good person.’
    • ‘It made me realise I'm living in a nest of privileged Tory vipers!’
    • ‘I knew enough to see that the text was a nest of problems which competent scholars could go on investigating, but I had lost my path through the maze.’
    • ‘Welfare is now seen as a tool for training the impoverished, not a nest of dependence or a barrier to performance.’
    • ‘He also discovers a nest of intrigue, decadence and a heathen willingness to murder people very casually if they get in your way.’
    • ‘This development was seized on by right-wing commentators to argue that the American CP was nothing but a nest of spies.’
    • ‘This is as if the Spycatcher affair ten years ago hadn't showed MI5 to be a nest of hard right conspirators.’
    • ‘The Caribbean was a nest of pirates until cleaned up in the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘He is led off to execution, content to ‘die after a nest of dukes’.’
    • ‘I been working for Rorake for some time but because some of our men found a nest of vampires I had to go.’
    • ‘Apparently there is something wrong with this - cleaning out a nest of public nuisances, expensive ones at that.’
    • ‘He winces when a dozen members of Company B are mistaken for a nest of rebels one night and are targeted for a U.S. air strike.’
    • ‘Interesting, cos they are not portrayed as a tight, likeable team, but a nest of corruption and depraved power-to-commerce cynicism.’
    • ‘All over the region, people are revisiting a nest of grievances.’
    • ‘This explains why he would hunt a nest of vampires alone.’
    hotbed, den, breeding ground, cradle, seedbed, forcing house
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  • 3A set of similar objects of graduated sizes, made so that each smaller one fits into the next in size for storage:

    ‘a nest of tables’
    • ‘They have been flying out of her shop, which is why she has extended the range of Ercol reissues to include a settle, a dining table and a nest of tables.’
    • ‘This consists of a nest of polished steel tubes that have been likened both to organ pipes and to the pine trunks of the Finnish forests.’
    • ‘In the burial chamber, a nest of four golden shrines, each sitting within the other, are removed, to reveal a stone sarcophagus.’
    • ‘Greenapple has produced a little nest of transparent glass tables, each made from a single sheet of glass.’
    • ‘I sit on a sofa that is part of an old three-piece suite around a nest of tables.’
    • ‘Four months ago the desk gave birth to a nest of tables.’
    cluster, set, group, assemblage
    View synonyms

verb

  • 1[no object] (of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest:

    ‘the owls often nest in barns’
    ‘do not disturb nesting birds’
    • ‘Areas scraped out for the embankments filled with water over the wet winter and birds are already nesting there.’
    • ‘There they grew to a modest size, birds nested in them and they appeared to cause no trouble.’
    • ‘Interesting water birds and several species of ducks and warblers nest there.’
    • ‘They said this work should have been delayed until after the birds had nested and young had left the nests.’
    • ‘Mice nested in the wellington boots, and the tank-suit got a bad case of wet rot from a small hole in the roof.’
    • ‘Prior to the sharp decline of Peregrines from the raptor's indigenous habitat, the birds nested mainly on steep cliffs, which seems like a very wild bird-like thing to do.’
    • ‘Neither the pet shop proprietor nor the new owner of the birds knew that the owls nest in underground burrows, which requires deep soil.’
    • ‘The birds were nesting next to my bedroom window.’
    • ‘This protected bird species had nested at the Baltic for many years and had to be moved to specially built nesting areas further down the river.’
    • ‘Wildlife experts are delighted with the record number of youngsters, particularly as it is only the second year the birds have nested in the county in living memory.’
    • ‘The birds of prey have nested at the site since 2001 and were the first to do so in the Lake District for 150 years.’
    • ‘It looked like a bird was nesting on the top of her head.’
    • ‘The Dismal supports a hundred different bird species nesting within the refuge; another hundred are known to use the area.’
    • ‘In 1982 the clock stopped when snow landed on it and the hands froze and some years later it stopped again when a bird nested in it.’
    • ‘I decided that the birds could nest anywhere except in the stand of horse chestnut trees outside my back door.’
    • ‘It added that the contractor had taken care to look and see if any birds were nesting in the trees before starting work.’
    • ‘Many birds are nesting earlier than they used to, while others are overwintering in this country instead of migrating to warmer parts.’
    • ‘My daughter then pointed out a tree to the right of the cricket green as you look towards the common, where two other similar birds were nesting.’
    • ‘Mr Ritchies said it was known that three breeding pairs of barn owls nest in the area where it is proposed to put the turbines and red kite recently reintroduced in Wiltshire are seen on top the hill.’
    • ‘Is it simply because the CLA exists in part to kill small creatures and they would like the moors free of disturbance so small birds can nest in peace?’
  • 2[with object] Fit (an object or objects) inside a larger one:

    ‘the town is nested inside a large crater on the flanks of a volcano’
    • ‘The disk is nested inside an elliptical ring of older, cooler, redder stars, which was seen in previous Hubble and ground-based observations.’
    • ‘The final tip is to try not to nest tables inside of each other.’
    • ‘The actual volcanic crater is one of the largest in the world as the town of Soufriere is neatly nested into the land based half, while the other portion lies under water and extends northward in the direction of Martinique's Soufiere.’
    • ‘And then a counter, all along the wall, only the cabinets below were all for wine - pull out drawers in which bottles were nested.’
    • ‘Kettles were extremely durable and easily transported by nesting them inside one another.’
    • ‘Then I decided to nest Bonobo inside, and they got even clearer.’
    • ‘The slender Caprivi Strip is nested between Zambia and Botswana and is a wet area of woodland blessed with a few rivers.’
    • ‘This experience is even more pronounced in the Double Torqued Ellipses, which consist of two curving palisades nested one inside the other.’
    • ‘A hole was made in the bottom of the tube with a fine needle and the tube was nested inside a similar tube.’
    • ‘To break up the expanse of a not-so-Victorian double garage door, the couple came up with a design that looks like two structures, one nested inside the other.’
    • ‘I was explaining how you get more crockery in if you nest the little bowls inside the big bowls when I sensed that Mel was somehow not with me.’
    • ‘Covering 320 square kilometers, it is nested in the southwestern corner of the country.’
    1. 2.1[no object] (of a set of objects) fit inside one another:
      ‘Russian dolls that nest inside one another’
      • ‘Valves of this genus are commonly found nested inside each other.’
      • ‘Still, only golf sets up its challenges in such a tidy row, a telescoping succession like that of Russian dolls nested one inside the other.’
      • ‘They say the result could explain why graphite lubricant - a spray of randomly oriented flakes - works so well, and why carbon nanotubes nested inside each other spin unexpectedly freely.’
      • ‘With such technology parts can just be nested together and then joined on remote electronic command.’
      • ‘On closer inspection, Iijima saw that these were hollow cylinders of carbon, and that each one contained several cylinders nested inside one another like Russian dolls.’
      • ‘In the 28 January print issue of PRL, researchers calculate that a group of concentric nanotubes nested inside an outer set of tubes can slide back and forth a billion times every second.’
      • ‘This pursuit of knowledge becomes a set of dolls nested within other dolls, the desire to fit and the desire to contrast plays into a choral performance on the theme of instability of all categories of life and knowing.’
    2. 2.2 (especially in computing and linguistics) place (an object or element) in a lower position in a hierarchy:
      ‘organisms classified in a series of nested sets’
      • ‘You then navigate to the option which you want using the numeric keypad and go further down each nested menu.’
      • ‘This practice taxes the dial-up user's patience by wasting bandwidth on code forking, deeply nested tables, spacer pixels and other image hacks, and outdated or invalid tags and attributes.’
      • ‘There's a growing belief that searching, rather than sorting through nested folders, is the next revolution in how people use computers.’
      • ‘The same trait often appears in living things which are not believed to be closely related by evolution, and this occurs often enough to vitiate Eldredge's premise about nested hierarchies.’
      • ‘The RANDOM statement of this procedure was used because the haploid random factor was nested within the series factor.’
      • ‘A subquery occurs when a developer nests one SQL statement within another SQL statement.’
      • ‘This can be accomplished by nesting elements under the parent element.’
      • ‘The images are called in as background images for two nested elements.’
      • ‘The distribution of pattern elements is nested, such that species with less common elements such as rump patches also have more common elements such as wing bars.’
      • ‘Guess what, gene expression produces the same nested hierarchy of relatedness, with chimps our closest relatives, as we find for genes.’
      • ‘When possessive relationships are nested, all but the last element are construct and all but the first are genitive: ‘head horse-of the-man-of’.’
      • ‘You can perform conditional branching, parallel process flows, nested sub-processes, process joins, and other related features.’
      • ‘Despite clustering in heterochromatin, Dasheng elements are not nested, suggesting their potential value as molecular markers for these marker-poor regions.’
      • ‘HTML Tables can be nested within each other to produce a variety of different design layouts for websites.’
      • ‘These pages are in fact encrypted (with the public key of that rewebber) nested URLs again, which point to the next rewebber.’
      • ‘I just took a look at their home page, and they have tables nested five deep in some places.’
      • ‘In fact, I argue that evolutionary processes are the only known processes which can generate such nested hierarchies.’
      • ‘Elements are thus nested within broader elements, according to Ellis, and each element has its own time.’
      • ‘Some of you may be asking, ‘if I can run one nested server, why not two or three?’’
      • ‘The enterprise edition of this software allows for companies to manage multiple, nested clusters of computing grids that are spread around an office complex or campus across multiple networks.’

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Latin nidus, from the Indo-European bases of nether (meaning ‘down’) and sit.

Pronunciation:

nest

/nɛst/