Definition of nanny in English:



  • 1A person, typically a woman, employed to care for a child in its own home.

    • ‘With both parents working, many children are today cared for in a shared arrangement between the parents and others, such as nurseries, nannies, and child-minders.’
    • ‘The £50 vouchers will be welcomed by families that employ a nanny, but many are angry at the government's portrayal of the extension of the tax credit.’
    • ‘Earlier this year, the Revenue promised anyone employing a nanny, and paying tax and national insurance on her behalf, a £250 tax rebate for filling in the return online.’
    • ‘Many nurses came from the Philippines to work in Britain's overstretched health service and for private agencies - and a nanny agency is now helping their relatives to seek domestic work.’
    • ‘The majority don't work but, however rich they may be, neither do they employ childminders or nannies.’
    • ‘Men have a limited role in child-rearing, which is primarily the responsibility of the mother and female relatives or nannies.’
    • ‘One thing we will see a lot more of is nanny-sharing, where two families will join up to employ a nanny and the children mix.’
    • ‘He said the airline would be investing heavily in in-flight meals and entertainment and would also offer a nanny service and Indian head massage for passengers.’
    • ‘There was no shortage of cash to employ nannies or to send the children to the most expensive private schools.’
    • ‘This time it's nannies who are sucking our wallets dry: the revelation being that families in the capital who employ a daytime nanny are paying an average of £27,000 a year.’
    • ‘Do you now, or have you ever, employed a live-in nanny or helper?’
    • ‘So obviously it is better for the economy that women work and employ maids or nannies.’
    • ‘Critics from both the right and the left accuse middle-class women of neglecting their children and exploiting the immigrant women they employ as nannies and housekeepers.’
    • ‘Neither Shawn nor I believe in employing a nanny for the children.’
    • ‘There have been wet nurses and nannies for generations, for centuries.’
    • ‘And after she graduated, she looked through postings for a nanny placement service that was available and found one that sounded like a family she wanted to work for.’
    • ‘She also once worked as a nanny in Sydney, but was left destitute when three female flatmates walked out leaving her with bills to pay.’
    • ‘This means that parents would need an income of at least £40,000 just to cover the costs of employing a nanny.’
    • ‘Although father had employed governesses and nannies for our care during the time he was away, Olga took the most care of us.’
    • ‘The number one cost is childcare, which can run into thousands, be it nurseries, nannies, child minders, au pairs, after school clubs or holiday play schemes.’
    governess, nursery nurse, nurserymaid, childminder, au pair, childcarer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person or institution regarded as interfering and overprotective.
      • ‘That would be the over-zealous interference of the nanny state.’
      • ‘These laws were designed not to protect the public health - the nanny state had still to be invented - but to stop poor people poaching.’
      • ‘This choice should lie with individual proprietors and is not a decision to be made by an interfering nanny state!’
      • ‘But critics believe some of the new advice may be driven by political correctness and a nanny state approach.’
      • ‘Family life and the licensed trade aren't its only casualties: it is helping to turn this country with its natural sense of freedom into a nanny state.’
      • ‘This too was the nanny state interfering, unenforceable, an infringement of civil liberty.’
  • 2A female goat.

    • ‘Surgeons cut a piece from the back of a nanny goat, whose hair resembled all that was left of the girl's fringe, and grafted it to her head.’
    • ‘In fact, I bleated at it like an aging nanny goat.’
    • ‘He said: ‘We've gradually built up the numbers to the current 500 animals and began to produce milk on a small scale after the nanny goats produced kids in February and March this year.’’
    • ‘She and her brother also spent time at their father's wood yard in Chiswick, where they looked after the family's nanny goat and white-haired terrier dog.’
    • ‘This year you too could buy someone in a low income country a mosquito net or a nanny goat.’
    • ‘More mild mannered than full-sized goats, these little billies and nannies have become the latest must-have pets for Christmas.’
    • ‘He also raises 300 fed cattle, 300 nanny goats and grows 350 acres of crops.’
    • ‘I watched her swell, taking on the full mass of an Alpine nanny goat, not the petite female she usually went about as.’
    • ‘When his wife brought home a nanny goat in January 2002 from the vet clinic where she works, this couple never suspected it would help them launch a profitable niche business.’
    • ‘But in the evenings she milked two of the nanny goats outside.’


  • Be overprotective toward.

    ‘his well-intentioned nannying’
    • ‘I have not yet been given a sensible answer to that question, possibly because my reasoning is too logical and lacking enough restrictive nannying for the anti-everything brigade.’
    • ‘Oddly, these TV wreck detectives are always trying to find out something which the experienced real divers nannying them around the wreck discovered when they first dived the ship 20 years ago.’
    • ‘As a result, their customers have grown used to being nannied.’
    • ‘All depends how paternalistic - or nannying - we, as a society, choose to be.’
    • ‘I believe people are happiest when they are masters of their own lives, when they are not nannied or over-governed.’
    • ‘It was lovely, not only to go diving but to be nannied and coddled for 20 minutes.’
    • ‘Having said that, I'm not in favour of a ban, because I'm a liberal at heart, and don't think government has any place nannying people.’
    • ‘After about another half an hour of questions, she had decided that I was fit to nanny her daughter.’
    • ‘We've been nannied for so long that we've forgotten how to do anything for ourselves.’
    • ‘Many of their strictures are sheer nannying about the obvious, which hardly merits its respectable disguise in the shreds of theory.’
    • ‘No doubt they have been used to employ some more bureaucrats to nanny us some more.’
    • ‘It's as if the regulator is telling us we could do better than this which could be seen as admirably taking a stand or overly nannying in its approach.’
    • ‘It was my role - apparently - to decode the story, suggest its origins, play down its significance and generally nanny him into a better humour.’
    • ‘Officers won't be finger-pointing and nannying but having some banter with the teenagers.’
    • ‘The issue is far more complex than saying this is a matter of middle-class nannying or this is a matter of free choice.’
    • ‘People do not react well to this kind of nannying.’
    • ‘All in all the time it took to nurture and nanny my darlings, each with its own very different requirements, through twelve months of the year was quite out of proportion to the return.’
    • ‘Well, sort of: in the real world, your first job is more likely to involve spirit-crushing manual labour than it is nannying a precocious tyke with whom you can exchange valuable life-lessons.’
    • ‘The conservative position is one of limited government and a belief that people should be allowed to take responsibility for their own lives rather than being nannied by the state.’
    • ‘I believe people are most likely to be happy when they are masters of their own lives, when they are not nannied, except for adult babies.’
    • ‘There should be adult supervised meting places like we had, but not of the type that will interfere and nanny them.’
    • ‘The Government seems to veer between absurd nannying half the time then throwing the rule book away the rest.’


Early 18th century (as a noun): nickname for the given name Ann. The verb dates from the 1950s.