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’
    • ‘Brood parasitic birds lay eggs in the nests of host birds that raise the parasitic offspring to independence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both birds work at nest building, but before this begins there is much play.’
    • ‘This bird was feeding young in a nest perched in the eaves of one of the temple buildings.’
    • ‘Once the young leave the nest, the parents continue to feed them for about a week.’
    • ‘Last summer, Caitlin observed bald eaglets fledging from nests at two sites.’
    • ‘All birds in the nest need protein, the kind that comes from any type of bug.’
    • ‘When they are raising young or robbing nests, Steller's Jays become very quiet and inconspicuous.’
    • ‘They said this work should have been delayed until after the birds had nested and young had left the nests.’
    • ‘The young leave the nest soon after they hatch and find their own food immediately.’
    • ‘Columbids will re-use nests and will build nests on top of abandoned bird nests.’
    • ‘The male feeds the female on the nest and helps her brood the young when they first hatch.’
    • ‘First, the flight trajectory will obviously depend on the way in which a bird will enter its nest site.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One to three days after hatching, the young leave the nest and hide in nearby cover.’
    • ‘But this year, the birds surprised conservationists by selecting a nest site deep in the forest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The young leave the nest within a day of hatching and follow their parents out into the marsh.’
    • ‘After one day in the nest, the young leap to the ground or water, often quite a long jump.’
    roost, eyrie
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A place where an insect or other animal breeds or shelters.
      ‘an ants' nest’
      • ‘A typical army ant species lives in nests underground that are built out of the living bodies of its workers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the chaos, the wasp slips unnoticed through the ant nest and preys on the unguarded caterpillar.’
      • ‘Emigrations were induced by removing the roof slide from the old nest, forcing the ants to find a new home.’
      • ‘And of course you can see green ant nests if you're walking through the bush throughout Australia, can't you?’
      • ‘Eastern woodlands Aphaenogaster ants make twenty-inch-deep nests occupied by a few hundred workers.’
      • ‘They use their long claws to expose the insect's nests.’
      • ‘Colin Marlow, 56, was attacked by the insects after disturbing a nest on his smallholding.’
      • ‘Just as humans keep cows for their milk, certain ant species rear aphids and other insects in their nests and consume their secretions.’
      • ‘EPS, polyurethane, and isocyanurate foam provide the ideal environment for an insect nest.’
      • ‘Common wasps are social insects and live in nests of up to around 10,000 workers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leaf-cutting ants travel from their nests to trees and hack off bits of leaves, which they grip in their mandibles.’
      • ‘The caterpillar is taken inside the ant nest where it promptly turns carnivorous and starts devouring its hosts' eggs and young.’
      • ‘The pupation is often completed within the nest of the ants.’
      • ‘Insect nests have guards who deter entry by both conspecific and allospecific intruders.’
      • ‘Instead of finding something for her to eat, she found a nest of large insects of the predatory variety.’
      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’
      • ‘One of my personal favourites is the pisto manchego, a smoky-tasting sautéed veggie dish served in a crisp nest of shredded potato.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Settled within a nest of blankets, the teenager found it very hard to get back into typing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was lying on his back in a nest of bedding on the floor of the central corridor, and the past was confusing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Colored eggs in a nest of moss await display on a tabletop or mantelpiece.’
      • ‘My God, each box is a perfect reduced-impact nest of quality bubble wrap.’
      • ‘Fill meringue nests by first adding some chopped mango, then a dollop of passion fruit cream, finishing off with more chopped mango.’
      • ‘Brian uncomfortably fluffed up a nest of sorts on the couch.’
      • ‘Maybe we could have made some raspberry vinaigrette, draped ourselves over a nest of baby greens, if you know what I mean.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Beneath a nest of angel hair phyllo shreds is a layer of bizarre, bland melted cheese in a pool of honey syrup.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was topped with a nest of straw potatoes and drizzled with a mustard and yoghurt dip.’
      • ‘He had a nest of black hair and his skin was tanned and wrinkled, though not necessarily by age.’
    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.’
      • ‘Make your bedroom a snug, safe nest, with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of distraction.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This explains why he would hunt a nest of vampires alone.’
    • ‘To wrap things up, he repeats that he sees the RA as a great opportunity, not as a nest of problems.’
    • ‘He also discovers a nest of intrigue, decadence and a heathen willingness to murder people very casually if they get in your way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All over the region, people are revisiting a nest of grievances.’
    • ‘Most charges focus on the Mafia's control of New York's waterfront, vast and beautiful, but for years a nest of corruption.’
    • ‘This development was seized on by right-wing commentators to argue that the American CP was nothing but a nest of spies.’
    • ‘Welfare is now seen as a tool for training the impoverished, not a nest of dependence or a barrier to performance.’
    • ‘A ‘bien-pensant liberal’ in a nest of high Tories, she works all the harder to be a good person.’
    • ‘I been working for Rorake for some time but because some of our men found a nest of vampires I had to go.’
    • ‘It made me realise I'm living in a nest of privileged Tory vipers!’
    • ‘The Caribbean was a nest of pirates until cleaned up in the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘It took me another three seminars to realise that I'd accidentally fallen into a nest of revolutionary socialists.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is as if the Spycatcher affair ten years ago hadn't showed MI5 to be a nest of hard right conspirators.’
    • ‘Interesting, cos they are not portrayed as a tight, likeable team, but a nest of corruption and depraved power-to-commerce cynicism.’
    • ‘He is led off to execution, content to ‘die after a nest of dukes’.’
    • ‘Apparently there is something wrong with this - cleaning out a nest of public nuisances, expensive ones at that.’
    • ‘But now U.S. forces feels it's a nest of former regime loyalists and anti coalition fighters.’
    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’
    • ‘Four months ago the desk gave birth to 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Greenapple has produced a little nest of transparent glass tables, each made from a single sheet of glass.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It added that the contractor had taken care to look and see if any birds were nesting in the trees before starting work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 Dismal supports a hundred different bird species nesting within the refuge; another hundred are known to use the area.’
    • ‘Interesting water birds and several species of ducks and warblers nest there.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There they grew to a modest size, birds nested in them and they appeared to cause no trouble.’
    • ‘The birds were nesting next to my bedroom window.’
    • ‘Mice nested in the wellington boots, and the tank-suit got a bad case of wet rot from a small hole in the roof.’
    • ‘I decided that the birds could nest anywhere except in the stand of horse chestnut trees outside my back door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Areas scraped out for the embankments filled with water over the wet winter and birds are already nesting there.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Many birds are nesting earlier than they used to, while others are overwintering in this country instead of migrating to warmer parts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 slender Caprivi Strip is nested between Zambia and Botswana and is a wet area of woodland blessed with a few rivers.’
    • ‘The disk is nested inside an elliptical ring of older, cooler, redder stars, which was seen in previous Hubble and ground-based observations.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Covering 320 square kilometers, it is nested in the southwestern corner of the country.’
    • ‘Then I decided to nest Bonobo inside, and they got even clearer.’
    • ‘The final tip is to try not to nest tables inside of each other.’
    • ‘A hole was made in the bottom of the tube with a fine needle and the tube was nested inside a similar tube.’
    1. 2.1no object (of a set of objects) fit inside one another.
      ‘Russian dolls that nest inside one another’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘I just took a look at their home page, and they have tables nested five deep in some places.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can perform conditional branching, parallel process flows, nested sub-processes, process joins, and other related features.’
      • ‘The RANDOM statement of this procedure was used because the haploid random factor was nested within the series factor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Despite clustering in heterochromatin, Dasheng elements are not nested, suggesting their potential value as molecular markers for these marker-poor regions.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘A subquery occurs when a developer nests one SQL statement within another SQL statement.’
      • ‘You then navigate to the option which you want using the numeric keypad and go further down each nested menu.’
      • ‘HTML Tables can be nested within each other to produce a variety of different design layouts for websites.’
      • ‘Some of you may be asking, ‘if I can run one nested server, why not two or three?’’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This can be accomplished by nesting elements under the parent element.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These pages are in fact encrypted (with the public key of that rewebber) nested URLs again, which point to the next rewebber.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

nest

/nɛst/