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’
    • ‘After one day in the nest, the young leap to the ground or water, often quite a long jump.’
    • ‘This bird was feeding young in a nest perched in the eaves of one of the temple buildings.’
    • ‘But this year, the birds surprised conservationists by selecting a nest site deep in the forest.’
    • ‘First, the flight trajectory will obviously depend on the way in which a bird will enter its nest site.’
    • ‘The young leave the nest soon after they hatch and find their own food immediately.’
    • ‘The male feeds the female on the nest and helps her brood the young when they first hatch.’
    • ‘When they are raising young or robbing nests, Steller's Jays become very quiet and inconspicuous.’
    • ‘Both birds work at nest building, but before this begins there is much play.’
    • ‘The young leave the nest within a day of hatching and follow their parents out into the marsh.’
    • ‘They said this work should have been delayed until after the birds had nested and young had left the nests.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All birds in the nest need protein, the kind that comes from any type of bug.’
    • ‘Once the young leave the nest, the parents continue to feed them for about a week.’
    • ‘The female stays on the nest and broods the young for the first week or so after they hatch.’
    • ‘Brood parasitic birds lay eggs in the nests of host birds that raise the parasitic offspring to independence.’
    • ‘Columbids will re-use nests and will build nests on top of abandoned bird nests.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Last summer, Caitlin observed bald eaglets fledging from nests at two sites.’
    • ‘One to three days after hatching, the young leave the nest and hide in nearby cover.’
    roost, eyrie
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A place where an insect or other animal breeds or shelters.
      ‘an ants' nest’
      • ‘Instead of finding something for her to eat, she found a nest of large insects of the predatory variety.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Which of them will prefer football and which the ant nest, we'll have to wait and see.’
      • ‘Leaf-cutting ants travel from their nests to trees and hack off bits of leaves, which they grip in their mandibles.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The pupation is often completed within the nest of the ants.’
      • ‘Insect nests have guards who deter entry by both conspecific and allospecific intruders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eastern woodlands Aphaenogaster ants make twenty-inch-deep nests occupied by a few hundred workers.’
      • ‘Emigrations were induced by removing the roof slide from the old nest, forcing the ants to find a new home.’
      • ‘Colin Marlow, 56, was attacked by the insects after disturbing a nest on his smallholding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A typical army ant species lives in nests underground that are built out of the living bodies of its workers.’
      • ‘And of course you can see green ant nests if you're walking through the bush throughout Australia, can't you?’
      • ‘EPS, polyurethane, and isocyanurate foam provide the ideal environment for an insect nest.’
      • ‘The caterpillar is taken inside the ant nest where it promptly turns carnivorous and starts devouring its hosts' eggs and young.’
      • ‘The majority of these insects build nests and therefore suitable nest sites must be maintained.’
      lair, den, drey, lodge, burrow, set, form
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Something in the form of a bowl or layer, used to hold, protect, or support something.
      ‘potato nests filled with okra’
      • ‘Mrs Jellyby, sitting in quite a nest of waste paper, drank coffee all the evening, and dictated at intervals to her eldest daughter.’
      • ‘Settled within a nest of blankets, the teenager found it very hard to get back into typing.’
      • ‘He was lying on his back in a nest of bedding on the floor of the central corridor, and the past was confusing.’
      • ‘When I make these for the real event I'm going to make bowls or nests for the apples to sit in so no one has to tear away spiky sugar.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Beneath a nest of angel hair phyllo shreds is a layer of bizarre, bland melted cheese in a pool of honey syrup.’
      • ‘Fill meringue nests by first adding some chopped mango, then a dollop of passion fruit cream, finishing off with more chopped mango.’
      • ‘Mrs Grey is, as I write, curled up on the floor of my study in a nest of patchwork pieces.’
      • ‘One of my personal favourites is the pisto manchego, a smoky-tasting sautéed veggie dish served in a crisp nest of shredded potato.’
      • ‘My God, each box is a perfect reduced-impact nest of quality bubble wrap.’
      • ‘As she waits with the horse, he takes his time finding his way around and she falls asleep on a nest of leaves near the horse.’
      • ‘It was topped with a nest of straw potatoes and drizzled with a mustard and yoghurt dip.’
      • ‘They would sit at the bottom of the stands with their wares sitting in a nest of ice chipped from a big block, answering requests from the fans above them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He had a nest of black hair and his skin was tanned and wrinkled, though not necessarily by age.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Colored eggs in a nest of moss await display on a tabletop or mantelpiece.’
      • ‘Brian uncomfortably fluffed up a nest of sorts on the couch.’
      • ‘The only person not in black is a child making a nest of stones near a cairn of rocks.’
      • ‘The woman on the other hand had dark, auburn hair that was pulled back into a nest of braids on the back of her head.’
      • ‘Maybe we could have made some raspberry vinaigrette, draped ourselves over a nest of baby greens, if you know what I mean.’
    3. 1.3 A person's snug or secluded retreat.
      ‘I'm off to my cosy nest’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Make your bedroom a snug, safe nest, with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of distraction.’
      hideaway, hiding place, hideout, retreat, shelter, refuge, snuggery, nook, den, haunt
      View synonyms
  • 2A place filled with undesirable people, activities, or things.

    ‘a nest of spies’
    • ‘Interesting, cos they are not portrayed as a tight, likeable team, but a nest of corruption and depraved power-to-commerce cynicism.’
    • ‘To wrap things up, he repeats that he sees the RA as a great opportunity, not as a nest of problems.’
    • ‘Welfare is now seen as a tool for training the impoverished, not a nest of dependence or a barrier to performance.’
    • ‘But now U.S. forces feels it's a nest of former regime loyalists and anti coalition fighters.’
    • ‘He also discovers a nest of intrigue, decadence and a heathen willingness to murder people very casually if they get in your way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I been working for Rorake for some time but because some of our men found a nest of vampires I had to go.’
    • ‘This explains why he would hunt a nest of vampires alone.’
    • ‘All over the region, people are revisiting a nest of grievances.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is as if the Spycatcher affair ten years ago hadn't showed MI5 to be a nest of hard right conspirators.’
    • ‘Apparently there is something wrong with this - cleaning out a nest of public nuisances, expensive ones at that.’
    • ‘Most charges focus on the Mafia's control of New York's waterfront, vast and beautiful, but for years a nest of corruption.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It took me another three seminars to realise that I'd accidentally fallen into a nest of revolutionary socialists.’
    • ‘This development was seized on by right-wing commentators to argue that the American CP was nothing but a nest of spies.’
    • ‘It made me realise I'm living in a nest of privileged Tory vipers!’
    • ‘A ‘bien-pensant liberal’ in a nest of high Tories, she works all the harder to be a good person.’
    • ‘He is led off to execution, content to ‘die after a nest of dukes’.’
    • ‘The Caribbean was a nest of pirates until cleaned up in the eighteenth century.’
    hotbed, den, breeding ground, cradle, seedbed, forcing house
    View synonyms
  • 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.’
    • ‘In the burial chamber, a nest of four golden shrines, each sitting within the other, are removed, to reveal a stone sarcophagus.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Greenapple has produced a little nest of transparent glass tables, each made from a single sheet of glass.’
    • ‘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.’
    cluster, set, group, assemblage
    View synonyms

verb

  • 1no object (of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest.

    ‘the owls often nest in barns’
    ‘do not disturb nesting birds’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It added that the contractor had taken care to look and see if any birds were nesting in the trees before starting work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The birds were nesting next to my bedroom window.’
    • ‘Interesting water birds and several species of ducks and warblers nest there.’
    • ‘Mice nested in the wellington boots, and the tank-suit got a bad case of wet rot from a small hole in the roof.’
    • ‘There they grew to a modest size, birds nested in them and they appeared to cause no trouble.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Areas scraped out for the embankments filled with water over the wet winter and birds are already nesting there.’
    • ‘Neither the pet shop proprietor nor the new owner of the birds knew that the owls nest in underground burrows, which requires deep soil.’
    • ‘It looked like a bird was nesting on the top of her head.’
    • ‘They said this work should have been delayed until after the birds had nested and young had left the nests.’
    • ‘I decided that the birds could nest anywhere except in the stand of horse chestnut trees outside my back door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 Dismal supports a hundred different bird species nesting within the refuge; another hundred are known to use the area.’
    • ‘Many birds are nesting earlier than they used to, while others are overwintering in this country instead of migrating to warmer parts.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2with object Fit (an object or objects) inside a larger one.

    ‘the town is nested inside a large crater on the flanks of a volcano’
    • ‘A hole was made in the bottom of the tube with a fine needle and the tube was nested inside a similar tube.’
    • ‘Covering 320 square kilometers, it is nested in the southwestern corner of the country.’
    • ‘And then a counter, all along the wall, only the cabinets below were all for wine - pull out drawers in which bottles were nested.’
    • ‘The disk is nested inside an elliptical ring of older, cooler, redder stars, which was seen in previous Hubble and ground-based observations.’
    • ‘Kettles were extremely durable and easily transported by nesting them inside one another.’
    • ‘This experience is even more pronounced in the Double Torqued Ellipses, which consist of two curving palisades nested one inside the other.’
    • ‘The slender Caprivi Strip is nested between Zambia and Botswana and is a wet area of woodland blessed with a few rivers.’
    • ‘Then I decided to nest Bonobo inside, and they got even clearer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1no object (of a set of objects) fit inside one another.
      ‘Russian dolls that nest inside one another’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘In fact, I argue that evolutionary processes are the only known processes which can generate such nested hierarchies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘I just took a look at their home page, and they have tables nested five deep in some places.’
      • ‘Elements are thus nested within broader elements, according to Ellis, and each element has its own time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This can be accomplished by nesting elements under the parent element.’
      • ‘These pages are in fact encrypted (with the public key of that rewebber) nested URLs again, which point to the next rewebber.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some of you may be asking, ‘if I can run one nested server, why not two or three?’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A subquery occurs when a developer nests one SQL statement within another SQL statement.’
      • ‘The RANDOM statement of this procedure was used because the haploid random factor was nested within the series factor.’
      • ‘HTML Tables can be nested within each other to produce a variety of different design layouts for websites.’
      • ‘Guess what, gene expression produces the same nested hierarchy of relatedness, with chimps our closest relatives, as we find for genes.’
      • ‘The images are called in as background images for two nested elements.’
      • ‘There's a growing belief that searching, rather than sorting through nested folders, is the next revolution in how people use computers.’
      • ‘You then navigate to the option which you want using the numeric keypad and go further down each nested menu.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

nest

/nɛst/