Main definitions of nurse in English

: nurse1nurse2

nurse1

noun

  • 1A person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital.

    ‘a team of doctors and nurses’
    ‘a psychiatric nurse’
    • ‘Babs trained as a nurse in her young days over in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, but later returned to take care of her mother back home in Garrywadreen.’
    • ‘But of course it was too expensive to employ trained nurses to do those kind of things so now we just stick to the medical side!’
    • ‘Raised by his maternal grandparents from age four to six, he was passed around relatives after their death while his mother trained as a nurse in London.’
    • ‘As a registered psychiatric nurse, she spent years caring for gay kids.’
    • ‘My partner was fairly soon seen by a triage nurse who assessed the severity of the injury.’
    • ‘To be valuable health care practitioners, nurses must commit to lifelong learning.’
    • ‘A helpline operated by trained dental nurses has been launched.’
    • ‘The charity also employs oncology care nurses at key hospitals throughout Ireland.’
    • ‘Older registered nurses who have worked for decades should be able to complete their careers under less onerous conditions.’
    • ‘The mother was a nurse at a local hospital, and the father was a lawyer.’
    • ‘The fund employs a research nurse who supports patients on the ward and is involved with clinical trials.’
    • ‘He added that the health board recently held interviews to recruit specialist oncology nurses for Waterford Regional Hospital.’
    • ‘The treatment can be delivered by suitably trained practice nurses or general practitioners.’
    • ‘The report points out that, of a full complement of 13 nurses employed when the prison opened, only two of the original staff remain a year later.’
    • ‘Until this occurs state and federal governments need to employ more nurses but less clerical public servants, advisers and minders.’
    • ‘Joan was widely known throughout the area, having been public health nurse for years.’
    • ‘They also employed a part-time nurse to visit people in their own homes.’
    • ‘Employing foreign nurses is just a short-term solution.’
    • ‘The circulating perioperative nurse applies warm blankets to the patient to prevent hypothermia.’
    • ‘Mark Huxtep is a nurse who was employed by ACM at Woomera at the time of the incident.’
    carer, caregiver, attendant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1dated A person employed or trained to take charge of young children.
      ‘her mother's old nurse’
      • ‘She takes refuge with her old nurse, Denis's mother, and Denis falls in love with her little daughter Agnes.’
      • ‘There, her old nurse recognizes the goblet, which the trolls had stolen when they abducted her long ago.’
      • ‘But Canada's nanny is not just the caring nurse; she's also a strict governess.’
      nanny, childminder, governess, au pair, nursemaid, crèche worker, childcarer, babysitter, nursery nurse
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2archaic A wet nurse.
      • ‘Henry III sent his old nurse, Helen of Winchester, underwood for her fire.’
  • 2Entomology
    A worker bee, ant, or other social insect, caring for a young brood.

    • ‘Nurse bees are special worker bees that attend the queen and the babies, or larvae, of the hive.’
    • ‘To gain access to the cell, she'll ride the belly side of a nurse bee, which is onsite to tend to the bee larva.’
    1. 2.1Forestry often as modifier A tree or crop planted as a shelter to others.
      ‘these plants grow beneath nurse trees such as oak’
      • ‘He also offers a few thoughts on mixing nurse crops with your cover crops.’
      • ‘Normally, my green manures are alfalfa and I grow them under the nurse crop, and when we cut that nurse crop in the fall the alfalfa can grow if there are fall rains.’
      • ‘Major components of the desert community die with the nurse trees.’
      • ‘In this situation, we plant the hay seed into a nurse crop of winter wheat or spring oats.’
      • ‘If all of this is true, then to try starting any hay crop without chemicals, tillage or nurse crops will most likely end in failure.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Give medical and other attention to (a sick person)

    ‘he was gradually nursed back to health’
    • ‘They cook, clean, nurse elderly parents and sick infants, and race the clock to make sure everyone is on schedule and fed.’
    • ‘On the evening of 6 April 1985, Ms Drew took a night off from nursing her sick mother, to go ballroom dancing.’
    • ‘What the nurse does is nurse a bodily injury or take care of the consequences of bodily injury.’
    • ‘During his visit he had nursed a baby girl, who was deaf and had been born without eyes.’
    • ‘In 1823 Saint-Simon attempted to kill himself but Rodrigues came to his rescue, nursed him back to health, and provided him with the necessary financial support to see out the rest of his life.’
    • ‘Following this discovery, the narrative focuses on the long process of the Virginian's convalescence as Molly nurses him back to health.’
    • ‘Later, Anni, a Lapp widow, who works a reindeer farm single-handed on the shores of a lake, finds the concussed Russian and drags him back to her hovel and nurses him to health.’
    • ‘Though we lead busy lives, we need to care for them, nurse them well and try to make them happy.’
    • ‘Zhu said he was sick and his girlfriend was nursing him back to health.’
    • ‘The procedure also made it possible to discover that she developed these symptoms while she was nursing her sick father, something that was unknown to her.’
    • ‘Goya may have expected to die, but under Arrieta's care, he was nursed back to health and lived another eight years.’
    • ‘Pay attention to those that appreciate your being there everyday to save lives and nurse people back to health.’
    • ‘He says it is very rewarding to care for and nurse pets in the area, where he has worked for eight years.’
    • ‘Later, when Pip falls sick, Joe nurses him back to health and pays off all of his debts.’
    • ‘She kept right on nursing her friends and relations.’
    • ‘Zeena, also enraged, tells him that she became sick from nursing his ill mother.’
    • ‘She nurses him back to health, and subsequently their attachment deepens.’
    • ‘He credits his wife, Cathleen with nursing him back to health both physically and psychologically.’
    • ‘During her first and second years at medical school Patrice nursed her own mother, who had terminal breast cancer.’
    • ‘He was in a Hospice in Perth at the end and was nursed with great care and tenderness until he died but he was only 58 and should have lived much longer had he not been exposed to asbestos back beginning in about 1959.’
    care for, take care of, look after, tend, attend to, minister to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Work as a nurse.
      ‘she nursed at the hospital for thirty years’
      • ‘The shire is currently converting the former residence of the Silver Chain nursing sister into a medical centre.’
      • ‘In that same year a Fever Hospital, Infirmary and Dispensary were incorporated into the workhouse buildings and the Saint John of God nuns began nursing in the hospital.’
      • ‘Sandra, whose parents, Alan and Violet Beattie still live at Langton Park, nursed in the Mater Hospital, Dublin before doing agency nursing in Naas.’
      • ‘Lily has spent the past five-and-a-half years nursing in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.’
      • ‘Firstly, teaching hospitals are a training ground for nursing students and new graduates.’
      • ‘The amount of strain that measuring the heights of all admitted children puts on the medical and nursing staff should not be underestimated.’
      • ‘The nursing staff included nurses, nursing assistants, physiotherapists, and head nurses from both day and night shifts.’
      • ‘She emigrated to England back in the 1940s and nursed in a Manchester hospital during the War years.’
      • ‘Families have to bring food and medicines to patients in hospital and assist in nursing.’
      • ‘The greatest compliance increases were achieved by nurses and nursing assistants.’
      • ‘The hospital is staffed by 22 nurses, one senior nursing sister, one matron, and three government medical officers.’
      • ‘A good few nurses who come here to work have some nursing experience, having nursed in hospitals abroad.’
      • ‘The settlement also provides improved penalty rates for emergency Child, Adolescent and Adult Mental Health nursing staff.’
      • ‘Checking by physicians and pharmacy and nursing staff was all manual.’
    2. 1.2 Try to cure or alleviate (an injury, injured part, or illness) by treating it carefully and protectively.
      ‘he has been nursing a cold’
      figurative ‘he nursed his hurt pride’
      • ‘This one was particularly difficult because I was nursing a foot injury from six months before; I joined the march halfway along so I wouldn't have to walk too far.’
      • ‘The Sydney Roosters forward spent most of the first half in the dressing room nursing a head injury and afterwards made a veiled reference to retribution at the KC Stadium.’
      • ‘And with Danny Kilshaw nursing a neck injury and Lee Wingfield the target for some ungentlemanly play, East had two key players unable to make their usual massive contribution.’
      • ‘Last weekend, the Ukrainian-born and German-based Davydenko saved the day for his adopted country despite nursing a wrist injury.’
      • ‘He has spent the offseason nursing a shoulder injury and struggled to make the transition from right to left end last season after the team signed Simeon Rice as a free agent.’
      • ‘Now in the midst of her last outdoor track and field season, Nwofor has been nursing an ankle injury that has limited her activity since the close of the indoor season earlier this year.’
      • ‘Sure, his teammate Ronald Murray has been the big surprise, but with Ray Allen out nursing an ankle injury, this is Lewis' team.’
      • ‘But their best player, a mid-fielder, will most likely be unavailable for the semi-final as he is nursing a collar-bone injury.’
      • ‘After finally being seen by a passer-by at about 5am yesterday and airlifted to safety he was still nursing painful injuries inflicted all over his legs and buttocks by the thorns.’
      • ‘He said several players were nursing injuries - some slight, some more serious - while others needed to build up their fitness base.’
      • ‘Indiana's lineup has been banged and bruised, with six key players, including star forward Jermaine O'Neal, nursing injuries.’
      • ‘When the tournament is held before the season, not in the middle of it, players aren't tired, nursing injuries or distracted by their seasons.’
      • ‘He's not the type of player to nurse an injury, so the team should be careful with how it uses him.’
      • ‘Dale Heidtmann is still nursing a foot injury but lock Phillip Schutte returns to the reserve bench.’
      • ‘With Atapattu, Arnold, Jayawardena, de Silva and Jayasuriya gone and Ranatunge nursing an injury in the dressing room the home team was certainly in with a big chance.’
      • ‘Bomber spearhead Matthew Lloyd should be approaching full fitness after nursing a shoulder injury in last weekend's win over Collingwood.’
      • ‘With Marquis Grissom struggling and James Mouton nursing a wrist injury, the team is taking a look at utility infielder Lou Collier in center field.’
      • ‘With Wayne Hall still out and Christian Fox nursing a foot injury, Talbot, a player comfortable in midfield and defence, could help ease Dolan's concerns on the left.’
      • ‘Day after day, I nursed the wound, looking forward to healing, but pus continued to drain from the incision site, helped by the wick that I had thoughtfully inserted.’
      • ‘Geary was pleased with the performance, and although there are several players nursing injuries the manager will be pleased to welcome back his talisman, Jimmy Hedges.’
      treat, medicate, tend, attend to, cure, heal
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Hold closely and carefully or caressingly.
      ‘he nursed his small case on his lap’
      • ‘We figured we would just nurse the ball and get into field goal position.’
      • ‘Tracking back in support of his besieged full-back, Arjen Robben seemed in control as he nursed the ball towards the end-line and used his superior size to hold off Messi.’
    4. 1.4 Hold (a drink), sipping it occasionally.
      ‘I nursed a double brandy’
      • ‘Just make sure you don't nurse one drink for three hours.’
      • ‘Hovering at the back for a few seconds I scanned the club, there was Darren leaning against the bar nursing a drink, pretty girl at his side.’
      • ‘Caine watched as the last few stragglers nursed their drinks.’
      • ‘A guy named Dave, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, was nursing a beer at the bar and making small talk with some of the other regulars.’
      • ‘At a little round table just inside the door, three of the four members of Best Fight Story sit quietly watching the Timberwolves game and nursing their beers.’
      • ‘I didn't want to see anyone, not even Doyle, so I hung out in the food court, nursing a drink and watching people.’
      • ‘During his wait, Perez ordered himself a Bloody Mary and he was nursing the drink, sipping occasionally as he waited for Tan Ludlow.’
      • ‘He and his friends sit, nursing their drinks, and construct a perfect and consistent image of the modern world.’
      • ‘Margaret points to a table where Jake is sitting, nursing his drink with a permanent frown.’
      • ‘Sad to say, but I've been becoming a leather jacket wearing guy standing at the back of the venue, nursing my drink.’
      • ‘I thanked him, sat nursing my drink while he returned the bottle to its tray.’
      • ‘Rebecca sat at a slot machine feeding in quarters and nursing a margarita.’
      • ‘I remembered him sitting and watching me, nursing his drink for hours, every now and then dipping his tongue to sip.’
      • ‘As we were sitting there, nursing our drinks, a girl walked into the pub.’
      • ‘As usual, James was prompt and I arrived to find him seated at our table nursing a vodka with ice.’
      • ‘As I stood off to one side, nursing my drink, I reflected that I was not very good at talking to celebrities.’
      • ‘After seven or eight bourbon and cokes in about an hour I started nursing my drinks because even in my inebriated state I valued my liver more than my pride at never getting outdrunk by a girl.’
      • ‘Audra Springer and two of her friends, a black poodle and a white one, stood at the end of the buffet table, nursing their drinks as they discussed the evening's events.’
      • ‘The only other paying customer, an old jockey of a man with a massive mustache, stops nursing his drink long enough to come up and ask me for a cigarette.’
      • ‘The man is middle-aged and dark-haired, and is nursing a drink.’
    5. 1.5 Harbour (a belief or feeling), especially for a long time.
      ‘he still nursed a secret desire to try and make amends’
      • ‘I nursed a secret longing to explore such places but the only reason I was ever allowed to climb another man's fence was if there was no bush handy to address a roadside bathroom emergency.’
      • ‘She nursed a desire to become an actress in Bollywood films.’
      • ‘Fyffes has been nursing an ambition to propel itself into a new phase of development, moving from being the dominant European player to one of the largest in the world.’
      • ‘Buffeted by scorn, hated, reviled, he nurses his own hatred, seeking refuge in the thickets of the Law, because true justice has eluded him.’
      • ‘The voters have since then, to paraphrase Robert Burns, been nursing their wrath to keep it warm.’
      • ‘He lived in a hovel of an apartment, sold illegal software, hacked systems, and nursed a feeling of unease.’
      • ‘And I do see him nursing the illusion that he can control information in modern Washington.’
      • ‘For days, Miss Nellie nursed a feeling of neglect.’
      • ‘Despite the drubbing they received at Kolkata, the visitors must be nursing big hopes of squaring the series here.’
      • ‘That was in 1950, and she's lived in America ever since then, though she nurses a desire to return to this country where her daughter Kate now lives.’
      • ‘For the last few days, I've been nursing this crazy desire to get as far away as I can from London.’
      • ‘Morea's mother seems inexplicably sad and austere, nursing a secret grief.’
      • ‘Many Democratic voters have nursed feelings of anger and disenfranchisement for the past four years.’
      • ‘They nurse a belief that life has treated them unfairly, much worse than they deserve.’
      • ‘I suspect Mother nurses a great deal of disappointment in both of her daughters when it comes to the issue of church attendance.’
      • ‘In its chronic illness, her body has turned on itself, nursing and feeding its own traumatic memories continually.’
      • ‘A former Cheshire businesswoman of the year, she has nursed an ambition to get into parliament for years and told the Yorkshire Post in a recent interview she had no intention of quitting.’
      • ‘Anybody found nursing any doubts about it would be responsible for his own horrible end.’
      • ‘But Clarke has so far been seemingly ultra-honest by admitting he still nurses an ambition to be both the leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister.’
      • ‘Powell nursed a deep fear of public speaking and was terrified when she was required to give a class presentation.’
      harbour, foster, entertain, brood over, bear, have, hold, hold on to, cherish, cling to, maintain, retain
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6 Take special care of, especially to promote development or well-being.
      ‘our political unity needs to be protected and nursed’
      • ‘This is the right moment to nurse it with care and concern, instead of leaving the youngsters frustrated.’
      • ‘They would care for them, and caress them, and nurse them, and pamper them.’
      • ‘Benn recounts how, as his own death sentence appeared to lift, he nursed Caroline through terminal breast cancer.’
      • ‘Instead of developing players to international level, Scotland's pro teams have had to nurse youngsters up to a basic competitive standard which some never reach.’
      encourage, nurture, promote, boost, further, advance, contribute to, assist, help, cultivate, stimulate
      View synonyms
  • 2Feed (a baby) at the breast.

    ‘nursing mothers’
    • ‘The mother nursing her baby knows that the time of weaning will come.’
    • ‘A mother that has nursed a baby that long is apt to skip a year before breeding again, most likely because it takes a while to store up enough fat.’
    • ‘Mothers are entitled to one year's maternity leave so that they can stay with their babies and nurse them.’
    • ‘For the next several years, mothers nurse their babies, and the babies are carried everywhere and played with by adoring relatives.’
    • ‘A young mother nursed her infant in a plastic chair not far from animal cages.’
    • ‘A century later, some French subjects believed that a general social reform would result if mothers nursed their own babies, rather than sending them out to wet nurses.’
    • ‘For instance, the oral stage can be seen as the emergence of symbolic capacity, in the complex biological matrix of a mother nursing her infant.’
    • ‘The rite aims to coax the camel mother into nursing her baby.’
    • ‘If you're pregnant or nursing, yoga is considered generally safe.’
    • ‘Many young mothers who did not nurse their first babies are now nursing their second.’
    • ‘Babies are nursed by their mothers until two to four years of age.’
    • ‘In Jerusalem, there is a free loan for mother's milk - a milk bank to aid babies whose mothers cannot nurse them for some reason.’
    • ‘It is more than likely that a mother who chooses to nurse her adopted baby will need to supplement her milk supply.’
    • ‘What moves the heart of a mother to nurse her infant at all hours of the night and to comfort a sick child?’
    • ‘She was shot through the window of her home as she nursed her baby boy.’
    • ‘It begins in 1981 with a phone call at Christmas from a cycling track in Germany to an apartment in Ghent, Belgium, where a mother is nursing her infant son.’
    • ‘Some sensible rules about herbs are: Don't take herbs if you are pregnant or nursing.’
    • ‘Francisco Noronha nurses her toddler while she supervises.’
    • ‘The mother often nurses an infant until the age of two.’
    • ‘Ape mothers nurse their babies for several years, and during this period they are protective and attentive to the point of indulgence.’
    breastfeed, suckle, wet-nurse, feed
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1no object Be fed at the breast.
      ‘the baby snuffled as he nursed’
      • ‘If your baby is premature or can't nurse right away after birth, you may have to feed the baby in other ways.’
      • ‘Placing very young children, especially nursing infants, with foster caretakers implied payment for the service.’
      • ‘Colic and fussiness have been attributed to elevated serum concentrations of fluoxetine and its metabolite in nursing infants.’
      • ‘The cub nursed at her breast with as little fear as the young child newly born she had left behind at home.’
      • ‘It seems like yesterday that he was the wakeful baby who nursed incessantly and rarely slept through the night.’
      • ‘I recently spoke with a mother of twins who nursed night and day and started bleeding 5 1/2 months post-partum.’
      • ‘The language that mothers use when describing their babies' refusal to nurse conveys this experience of infants as wilful social actors.’
      • ‘The more your baby nurses, the more milk the mother's body produces.’
    2. 2.2be nursed indated Be brought up in (a specified condition)
      ‘he was nursed in the lap of plenty’
  • 3Snooker Billiards
    Try to play strokes which keep (the balls) close together.

    • ‘There is no doubt perioperative registered nursing is a worthy career that we need to recognize.’

Origin

Late Middle English: contraction of earlier nourice, from Old French, from late Latin nutricia, feminine of Latin nutricius ‘(person) that nourishes’, from nutrix, nutric- ‘nurse’, from nutrire ‘nourish’. The verb was originally a contraction of nourish, altered under the influence of the noun.

Pronunciation

nurse

/nəːs/

Main definitions of nurse in English

: nurse1nurse2

nurse2

(also grey nurse)

noun

  • A greyish Australian shark of shallow inshore waters.

    Compare with nurse shark, nurse hound
    • ‘Here a grey nurse shark gets among the baitfish.’
    • ‘Sand tiger sharks, known as the ‘grey nurse’ in Australia, have three rows of fierce-looking teeth, yellow eyes, a pointed snout, large and fleshy fins, and can reach lengths of ten feet or more.’

Origin

Late 15th century: originally as nusse, perhaps derived (by wrong division) from an huss (see huss).

Pronunciation

nurse

/nəːs/