Definition of nursery in English:



  • 1A room in a house for the special use of young children.

    ‘a toy-strewn nursery’
    [as modifier] ‘toys and nursery furniture’
    • ‘The stairs lead to another living room, master bedroom and bathroom, game room, nursery, and three bedrooms.’
    • ‘He suddenly recalled the sight of Kass in the nursery of his house, staring up at him, with the crib mobile's lullaby playing in the background.’
    • ‘They're decorating the nursery, trading in the car for a minivan.’
    • ‘They went and tucked in the twins, said goodnight to Jane as she went off to her room next to the nursery and went back down to the kitchen.’
    • ‘The only way the couple can stop this is by claiming that Marie is pregnant and that they will need their spare room as a nursery.’
    • ‘I stood in the nursery in Violet's house and looked around.’
    • ‘She checks the upstairs sitting room, then the nursery, then rushes downstairs to find Gabe in his office.’
    • ‘Converting a spare room into a nursery can easily take £1,000 from the budget.’
    • ‘Stained glass panels carrying colourful images of cartoon characters are placed in nurseries and rooms assigned to children.’
    • ‘I suppose at some point we need to start thinking about decorating the nursery.’
    • ‘The hallway leads to a nursery, downstairs toilet and kitchen and utility area to the rear of the house.’
    • ‘I knew soon enough Lizzie would demand her own room outside of the nursery and I had convinced Adam to redo one of the rooms on the third floor.’
    • ‘As he turns, he spies a dark figure entering the terrace from one of the other rooms, possibly the nursery, carrying a small bundle.’
    • ‘Melinda explained that it had originally been the old schoolmaster's room adjoining the nursery.’
    • ‘She shook her head, closing the door and jogging through the house to the nursery to see to her daughter, unable to wipe the smile from her face.’
    • ‘The accommodation includes an entrance hall, living room, a kitchen, utility, four bedrooms, a nursery, three bathrooms, and a chapel.’
    • ‘He spent the next fifteen minutes searching through a dozen different rooms before trying the nursery.’
    • ‘There are two bedrooms on the ground floor and two upstairs but there is also an unusual room which could be changed into a nursery if an extra room was needed.’
    • ‘It had a living room, a dining room, a nursery, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a huge kitchen fitted out like the galley of an old Cunarder.’
    • ‘They had already bought clothes and decorated a nursery for the child they expected to adopt.’
    1. 1.1A place where young children are cared for during the working day; a nursery school.
      • ‘Surely the Dental Authority could visit nurseries and schools to educate youngsters in dental health.’
      • ‘As a result of inadequate funding, more than 80 percent of the teachers and attendants in nurseries and kindergartens have received no training for the positions they fill.’
      • ‘A children's nursery which has become a target for vandals needs help to protect itself.’
      • ‘The couple are taking Italian lessons and their son attends the village nursery.’
      • ‘Until he stared school at Easter, my 5 year old son attended a local day nursery.’
      • ‘The result is a new day care nursery for pre-school children in Appleby.’
      • ‘Mariella eventually wants to run her own nursery and says that Just Learning is teaching her well.’
      • ‘Changes in higher education are only part of changes throughout an educational system and cannot be seen separately from strategies for nurseries, primary schools or vocational training.’
      • ‘A Chippenham neighbourhood nursery has thanked its supporters following a very successful first six months.’
      • ‘The centre is Bury's only council-run nursery and cares for up to 80 children a day.’
      • ‘The strikes have so far hit over 400 council-run nurseries.’
      • ‘Builders are on target to finish a new neighbourhood nursery and children's centre by the end of next month.’
      • ‘The group also runs two independent schools and three private nurseries in Wakefield and Barnsley.’
      • ‘Now, only private or state run day care nurseries are available to parents of pre-school children in Skipton.’
      • ‘Finally, governments could respond to the rising demand for education at all levels by investing heavily in public education, in nurseries and primary and secondary schools, as well as in universities.’
      • ‘Families with enough money to pay for places in private nurseries have done well under New Labour.’
      • ‘A new neighbourhood nursery and parent and child centre will help mums and dads back to work.’
      • ‘There is a range of private and public nurseries, kindergartens, and play schools.’
      • ‘Some are cared for at a private nursery from the age of three months.’
    2. 1.2An institution or environment in which certain types of people or qualities are fostered or bred.
      ‘that nursery of traitors’
      birthplace, fount, fountainhead, source, spring, fountain, origin, place of origin, breeding place, nursery, root, roots, seat, seed, germ
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A place or natural habitat which breeds or supports animals.
      ‘this estuary provides a vast nursery for fish’
      • ‘For three years, the newborn sharks live in this natural nursery, feeding on crab, lobster and fish, before setting out into the world.’
      • ‘Like other deepwater coral communities, the sites appear to provide important nursery habitat for fish.’
      • ‘Many streams serve as spawning, nursery, and juvenile habitat for arctic grayling.’
      • ‘Heysham bass nursery zone - where netting is allowed’
      • ‘She said the continued revegetation efforts of community groups had prompted Active Community Environmentalist members to launch the nursery.’
      • ‘These marshes provide nursery habitat for fish and shellfish.’
      • ‘At present the baby alligator is housed in a small nursery pond, which has been covered with thick vegetation such as small plants and grass.’
      • ‘In Asia, shrimp ponds destroyed vast swaths of mangrove forests, the key nursery habitat for many undersea creatures in tropical waters.’
      • ‘In and around the estuaries, freshwater mingled with salt to create habitats supporting mangroves and nurseries for wading birds and fish.’
      • ‘Scallops, oysters, and the eelgrass beds that provided nurseries for crabs and fish have disappeared.’
      • ‘After hatching, the juveniles prefer shallow inshore waters as their nursery until they are big enough to brave the open ocean.’
      • ‘As breeding areas, nurseries, and feeding grounds for marine life, mangrove forests are also among the planet's most productive and biodiverse wetlands.’
      • ‘This entanglement of roots provides a safe nursery for hatchling sea fishes.’
      • ‘The loss of living coral reefs, which act as nurseries for countless fish and marine species, will adversely impact fisheries and biodiversity, Miller says.’
      • ‘Lubchenco advocates for a network of fully protected marine reserves, linked by corridors, to protect breeding and nursery grounds.’
      • ‘Commonly, these also had a snake nursery where snakes were bred for use for the healing ceremonies.’
      • ‘The finding that mangroves serve as crucial nurseries for coral reef fish highlights another reason to conserve these rapidly disappearing habitats.’
      • ‘But we have a crazy situation in this country where we allow nets to operate in these nursery areas.’
      • ‘I would ask all caring anglers to write to their Member of Parliament so we can make sure nursery areas protect the bass stocks and netting is banned.’
      • ‘A large lagoon, protected from the open sea by the surrounding islands, serves as a natural nursery for the population.’
      breeding ground, nursery, cradle, nest, den, seedbed, forcing house
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4[as modifier]Denoting a race for two-year-old horses.
      ‘a six-furlong nursery handicap’
      • ‘Champion jockey Kieren Fallon continues his excellent week with yet another winner, just getting up on Happy Crusader to snatch a last-gasp victory in the nursery race.’
      • ‘A winner on this course two outings ago, Pat The Builder has since run a fair race in a competitive nursery race back on turf at Newcastle.’
      • ‘The youngster then failed by only half a length to get the better of Blue Tomato in a hot nursery race at York's Ebor meeting.’
      • ‘At York, Seafield Towers should reward each-way support in the opening nursery at 2.00 after a promising run at Hamilton last week.’
      • ‘Whipper In finished a good second on her latest start, at Ayr, where she chased home North Walk in a competitive nursery on soft ground.’
      • ‘Trained by John Quinn, the gelding broke his maiden tag in good style at Pontefract and followed-up with a fine effort in a hot nursery race at Beverley last time.’
      • ‘Middleham trainer Patrick Haslam has the opening nursery race as a target for The Pen to bid for her third success of the campaign.’
  • 2A place where young plants and trees are grown for sale or for planting elsewhere.

    ‘the plants are available from specialist nurseries’
    [with modifier] ‘tree nursery’
    • ‘In addition to local nurseries, hostas are available from several mail-order nurseries.’
    • ‘Most plant catalogs and nurseries contain a selection of fruit trees that can be grown in containers.’
    • ‘As an experiment I bought in 12 different varieties of spray chrysanthemum from a specialist nursery.’
    • ‘Keith built up a wholesale nursery selling shrubs and plants in bulk to outlets around New Zealand.’
    • ‘The nursery has expanded to include a tree nursery where saplings are grown on to maturity for sale.’
    • ‘The plant nursery which is situated at the back of the Parish Hall is open daily.’
    • ‘The figs have been placed alongside the baby peach trees in the tree nursery.’
    • ‘It's resistant to humidity diseases, and is readily available at the specialist fruit tree nurseries.’
    • ‘Amos raised cattle and had a side business running a tree nursery.’
    • ‘While at his website you can learn how to start your own profitable backyard nursery.’
    • ‘Unusual species may have to be sought from specialist nurseries.’
    • ‘Native orchids are offered by some commercial nurseries with the assurance that none have been collected from the wild.’
    • ‘She visited nurseries with her friend Sara Lynch to learn about plants.’
    • ‘Check with your local nursery or horticultural organization for details on alternative landscape species.’
    • ‘As with any shrub, buy your plant from a knowledgeable retail or mail-order nursery.’
    • ‘Ten specialist nurseries, all small independent businesses from Yorkshire, will display and sell their plants.’
    • ‘Marketing in the form of branding comes to your local plant nursery.’
    • ‘Garden centers and mail-order nurseries sell the Flower Pouch and similar products under different names in various sizes.’
    • ‘These gardeners may make note of those plants they'd like to add to their personal landscapes and seek them out at nurseries or special plant sales.’
    • ‘All landscape plants for sale in nurseries should be required to have a numerical allergy rating on each container.’


Late Middle English: from Old French nourice nurse (see nurse)+ -ery.