Definition of nature in English:

nature

noun

  • 1The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.

    ‘the breathtaking beauty of nature’
    • ‘Incidentally, the nature reserve is likely to be destroyed by the building process.’
    • ‘They worked to transform part of the school grounds into a garden where children will be able to grow plants and study nature.’
    • ‘In this understanding, the split between humans and nature is sealed by technology.’
    • ‘Keeping a good balance is the only way that humans and nature can coexist.’
    • ‘For humanists, the highest value is intelligent coexistence between humans and nature.’
    • ‘Carson's hostility to increasing human control over nature is expressed in many different ways by her successors.’
    • ‘The walk provides an excellent opportunity to develop a nature trail in the town.’
    • ‘As a nature lover, you'll totally dig a woodsy or musky fragrance.’
    • ‘The floods in Britain in autumn 2000 were blamed on man's arrogance and human interference in nature.’
    • ‘My partner is a park ranger so we actually live on a nature preserve.’
    • ‘Noise, pollution and grimaces tend to undo any good that nature has done.’
    • ‘It is a metaphysical experience based on the interconnectedness of nature and humans.’
    • ‘A commemorative plaque will be placed at the nature reserve at a later date.’
    • ‘Humans are encroaching on nature, but we can be more mindful of our impact when enjoying summer wilderness.’
    • ‘Religions are moving from a primarily human focus to include concerns for nature and all creation.’
    • ‘Residents and the local authority said they are not opposed to a nature reserve.’
    • ‘I took a lot of pictures during my walk through that Maine nature preserve.’
    • ‘It is from him that I gained my love of nature, my creative streak and my eye for detail.’
    • ‘I really had the capacity to know and learn about plants and growing and nature.’
    • ‘Examples of National Parks worldwide demonstrate that nature conservation does not mean excluding people.’
    the natural world, the living world, mother nature, creation, the world, the environment, the earth, mother earth, the universe, the cosmos, natural forces
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The physical force regarded as causing and regulating these phenomena.
      ‘it is impossible to change the laws of nature’
      See also Mother Nature
      • ‘Said Archibald, " There's not a lot you can do to change Mother Nature.’
      • ‘The next hurricane will follow the path that the forces of nature ordain for it regardless of what we do or don't do.’
      • ‘The sheer destructive force of nature demonstrated here is numbing.’
      • ‘The fact is that the victims of the typhoon were victims of nature, as human beings have been since the dawn of time.’
      • ‘The rural India even today is at the mercy of nature's bounties and fury.’
      • ‘Truly can it be said that Pete Flanagan was one of nature's gentlemen.’
      • ‘It is a sad and grim reminder of how vulnerable we are to the force of nature.’
      • ‘The resources which man uses to procure his subsistence are of two kinds: gifts of nature, and products of human labour.’
      • ‘The extent to which a human can be made to feel insignificant in the face of an intractable force of nature knows no bounds.’
      • ‘Imagine nature's bounty matching up to the lavish interiors of the chateau.’
      • ‘No pathetic fallacy here, nature remains impervious to human crises.’
      • ‘Attempts to unify all four forces of nature have eluded physicists from Einstein to the current day.’
      • ‘I think the catastrophe demonstrates that we are not as completely attuned to the forces of nature as we think we are.’
      • ‘Perhaps Mother Nature was just having a little fun?’
      • ‘The tsunami may be an act of nature but humans are complicating the relief effort.’
      • ‘In the life of this nation, we have often been reminded that nature is an awesome force and that all life is fragile.’
      • ‘Every time humans have been able to tackle and control a new force of nature, a technological revolution happens.’
      • ‘Well, I mean, really against that kind of force of nature, there was nothing any of us could do.’
      • ‘The diversity of species is perhaps the most obvious example of nature's creativity.’
      • ‘As if to compound the brutal deeds of humans, nature chipped in with a devastating famine.’
      • ‘How can we provide our pets with nutrition closer to what nature intended?’
      • ‘Fill your lungs with purifying air and feast your eyes on Mother Nature's bounty.’
      • ‘I don't know, you guys, you're tampering with a force of nature and you might regret it.’
  • 2in singular The basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.

    ‘helping them to realize the nature of their problems’
    ‘there are a lot of other documents of that nature’
    • ‘His piece highlights the fickle nature of Australian politics.’
    • ‘"Our equipment is merely reflecting the changing nature of society and allowing people to live their lives more easily.’
    • ‘The picturesque nature of many of the pieces is a great stimulus to the imagination.’
    • ‘Yes, what he did to us was very personal in nature and so it was only logical that my response would be equally personal.’
    • ‘Further study is necessary to elucidate the precise nature of the relationship between media exposure and cognitive development.’
    • ‘The complaints of alleged defamation are personal and political in nature.’
    • ‘The story illustrates the true nature of the relationship between journalists and the police.’
    • ‘Our experience in conflicts over the past decade has revealed the changing nature of warfare.’
    • ‘I just want to make a remark of a more personal nature about my work.’
    • ‘Her husband's illness and her father's death have underlined the unpredictable nature of human existence.’
    • ‘What he tells us is that migrants change the nature of a country.’
    • ‘It was also due to the physical conditions of the country and the nature of the war itself.’
    • ‘Ongoing research is now directed toward understanding the precise nature of these intermolecular forces.’
    • ‘Stark warnings and a constant bombardment of information on the fragile nature of Earth's environment surround us on a weekly basis.’
    • ‘A preliminary archaeological study has been completed to determine the exact nature of this site.’
    • ‘Both men have difficulty defining the exact nature of their relationship.’
    • ‘It boasted of the clean and long-lasting nature of the product.’
    • ‘Given the vital nature of such work why stop at free parking passes?’
    • ‘I would then move into a discussion of the biological nature of the human body.’
    • ‘It is changing much about the very nature of human society itself.’
    • ‘As a nation, America knows that democracy, by its very nature can not be forced.’
    • ‘Handy's work examines the changing nature of work, working life and of organisations.’
    • ‘All three names were derived from the shape of the flower, but none warned of the plant's deadly nature.’
    essence, basic characteristics, essential characteristics, inherent characteristics, basic qualities, essential qualities, inherent qualities, basic attributes, essential attributes, inherent attributes, basic features, essential features, inherent features, sum and substance, character, identity, complexion
    kind, sort, type, variety, description, category, ilk, class, classification, species, genre, style, cast, order, kidney, mould, stamp, grain
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 The innate or essential qualities or character of a person or animal.
      ‘it's not in her nature to listen to advice’
      See also human nature
      ‘I'm not violent by nature’
      • ‘It has been suggested that the basic nature of social workers prevents them from performing effectively.’
      • ‘The root cause is not so much the drugs trade, as the malignant rat-like nature of the human race.’
      • ‘Taking such risks is an obligation that our nature as humans imposes on us.’
      • ‘No slug has ever harmed, offended, or otherwise done ill to me and it's in their nature to eat plants.’
      • ‘You said yourself that it was in my personality and nature to be sarcastic.’
      • ‘It is also a thought-provoking examination of the animal nature of humans and at what point a punishment should fit a crime.’
      • ‘By nature, a lot of us are selfish opportunists who tend to pay a lot more mind to something when a treat is guaranteed.’
      • ‘Wilson thinks those imperfections of character are essential to our nature.’
      • ‘No matter how far they run, the characters can never escape their essential natures.’
      • ‘My strongest belief is that such a trait is ingrained into our nature as human beings.’
      • ‘For example, animals by nature do not have an odd number of feet.’
      • ‘By nature, I'm a little bit of a loner and I don't open up myself to people that easily when I meet them for the first time.’
      • ‘By nature, alligators are shy and reclusive, and are typically wary of humans.’
      • ‘Man's nature in some basic ways is also not mutable.’
      • ‘By nature I'm definitely a spender, but I'm trying to force myself to be a saver instead.’
      • ‘By nature generous, Matt sometimes paid for his friends' drinks when they had no money.’
      • ‘His obsessive nature saw him force actors to repeat scenes endlessly in his films as he strove for perfection.’
      • ‘By nature, I'm not an impulsive person so you can see why he was so surprised.’
      • ‘By nature, every individual seeks to prove himself as a useful person in his or her society.’
      • ‘Of course, it's very difficult to disentangle children's basic natures from what adults have taught them.’
      • ‘I don't expect cats to be free of the wild instinct that's an essential part of their nature.’
      character, personality, disposition, temperament, temper, humour, make-up, cast of mind, turn of mind, persona, psyche, constitution, fibre
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Inborn or hereditary characteristics as an influence on or determinant of personality.
      Often contrasted with nurture
      • ‘However, he perpetuates a common misconception that the battle has been nature versus nurture.’
      • ‘He also has an eminently sane attitude to the ferocity of past arguments about the relative influences of nature and nurture.’
      • ‘Man is a product of nature, the argument runs, but societies are contrived by men.’
      • ‘He was fascinated with the idea of whether genius is the result of nature or nurture.’
      • ‘Infant determinists argue for the determining effects of both nature and nurture, leaving little to individuals' free will.’
      • ‘The rapid transformation of warring societies into peaceful ones underscores the power of nurture over nature.’
      • ‘Yes, when passion ebbs, nurture comes before nature and compassion must overflow.’
      • ‘The debate surrounding homosexuality whips up the same storms - nature versus nurture.’
      • ‘And you can answer many questions about nature versus nurture in that way.’
      • ‘We have an innate nature, because we have inherited genes from our most successful ancestors.’
      • ‘I think we need to be careful when we start talking about whether it's nature or nurture.’
      • ‘It's neither nature nor nurture that determines who we are, but the choices we make.’
      • ‘Who of us cannot look back on our growing up years and see how our parents influenced us by both nature and nurture?’
    3. 2.3archaic with adjective A person of a specified character.
      ‘Emerson was so much more luminous a nature’

Phrases

  • against nature

    • Unnatural or immoral.

      • ‘For many years and in many countries, homosexuality was considered the same as bestiality: a crime against nature.’
      • ‘How do you deal with something that's against nature: It's been asked before, as all of us who are parents can't even imagine it.’
      • ‘Is this a travesty against nature that we are doomed to repeat ad infinitum?’
      • ‘"We oppose human cloning because it's against nature, " she said.’
      • ‘There are sins against the church, and sins against nature, which is God's older and purer handiwork.’
      • ‘It is self-discipline put in order the moment they commit the crime against nature.’
      • ‘During the past 15 years, he has pursued a global reconnaissance mission to uncover crimes against nature perpetrated by the world's military-industrial complex.’
      • ‘They unanimously voted to introduce legislation amending the criminal code so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature.’
      • ‘Soon, however, Chloe's parents help her to see Ruby's family for what they are: an affront against nature.’
      • ‘The argument is ‘if this crime against nature persists and becomes accepted by society, you know what's next: bestiality.’’
      • ‘For one thing, they regard defeat as an offence against nature.’
      • ‘It also condemned the practice of cloning, saying that this process is against nature and demanded that this practice should be stopped.’
      • ‘Hey, at least they don't engage in circumlocutions, such as ‘crime against nature.’’
      • ‘Anyway, it would be an offence against nature to put a slick and shiny, well-lubricated wok back on the shelf without it ever experiencing the slap and sizzle of meat and two veg.’
      • ‘There were a few people who said they were cool with it, but they are totally outweighed by those who decry it as a crime against nature.’
      • ‘Among the founders, sodomy was universally condemned as a crime against nature.’
      • ‘They ask this, as if it would be a crime against nature to stop at one child.’
      • ‘I can see I just interrupted what would normally be a crime against nature.’
  • someone's better nature

    • The good side of a person's character; their capacity for tolerance, generosity, or sympathy.

      ‘Charlotte planned to appeal to his better nature’
      • ‘With my charity night approaching, I would like to appeal to your better nature in asking for prizes in the raffle.’
      • ‘It prompts you to do things that go against your better nature.’
      • ‘But his better nature soon revealed to him the fault he had committed.’
      • ‘I decided to appeal to the captain 's better nature and plead my inability until I had watched a few more times.’
      • ‘All we can do this week is appeal to their better nature and urge them to call off their mean-minded vandalism.’
      • ‘His rackety friends had returned to France and his better nature was in evidence.’
      • ‘We would appeal to their better nature and not pursue disciplinary action against these two men who only joined millions of England fans in watching the game.’
      • ‘Despite our better nature, it seems, fear of foreigners or other strange-seeming people comes out when we are under stress.’
      • ‘Perhaps if she told him about the baby, perhaps if she appealed to his better nature… Surely the life of an infant would mean something to him?’
      • ‘Many had sacrificed the urgings of their better nature and committed shameful deeds for Stalin.’
      • ‘I think the ‘angels of our better nature’ whisper into our hearts that eating meat is wrong.’
      • ‘And at this point Lucasta 's better nature prevailed.’
  • from nature

    • (in art) using natural scenes or objects as models.

      ‘I wanted to paint landscape directly from nature’
      • ‘Claudia is a self-taught artist who developed a more realistic style by sketching from nature.’
      • ‘He painted directly from nature, without access to the art collections of the capital, an important resource for painters.’
      • ‘Even a motif from nature was to be flattened and show no trace of shading, foreshortening, or perspective.’
      • ‘Chardin painted directly from nature, with little or no advance preparation.’
      • ‘Dragons and forms from nature like leaves are often to be found on Japanese tuba.’
      • ‘The depicted subjects are taken from nature or from Japanese legends and history.’
      • ‘The author has walked this terrain over a lifetime, and his gift for etching vivid scenes from nature is given ample play.’
      • ‘He is by no means a copyist, but paints chiefly from nature, thinking rightly that he can do more faithful work by following this course.’
      • ‘His manner has affinities with Impressionism but he seldom painted directly from nature.’
      • ‘His paintings are expressions of inspirations from nature and his relationship to the landscape.’
  • get (or go) back to nature

    • Return to the type of life (regarded as being more in tune with nature) that existed before the development of complex industrial societies.

      • ‘Creation Theatre Company, is building a brand new openair theatre in Headington Hill Park, where you can languish in the leafy lushness and get back to nature.’
      • ‘Rural Cyprus is the perfect setting in which to enjoy the soothing pace of village life and get back to nature through traditional agriculture.’
      • ‘But getting back to nature and roughing it a little reminds you what it means to be human.’
      • ‘But if the commercialism gets too much to cope with, get back to nature on an airboat ride through alligator-infested marshland.’
      • ‘I'm going back to nature, I need to find out more about myself.’
      • ‘I felt like I needed to get back to nature, so I started planning a camping trip.’
      • ‘If you enjoy getting back to nature you have come to the right place; much of Iceland's interior is totally uninhabited.’
      • ‘It really allows you to get back to nature, focus on what's important - it's like taking a vacation without actually going anywhere.’
      • ‘A former gravel pit near Ripon has become a haven for thousands of birds since it went back to nature.’
      • ‘Anyone who suggests we would do better to go back to nature for our water supply is frankly nuts.’
      • ‘To get back to nature was great, it was a great opportunity to clear our heads.’
      • ‘The family on the farm had no idea the hen had gone back to nature and had been laying her eggs in a disused trough in the loft.’
      • ‘Ballymaloe House is on a working farm with superb gardens - a wonderful place to get back to nature and sample the best the country has to offer.’
      • ‘Pulling a trout out of a mountain stream is a time-honored way to get back to nature.’
      • ‘Either head to the sunny beach resort, get back to nature in the forest camping grounds, or head to the wintry wonderland of the snow-filled mountains.’
      • ‘There they discover what getting back to nature is really all about.’
      • ‘You could hardly choose a more dramatic place in which to get back to nature.’
      • ‘The integration of the building process with the natural environment allows residents to go back to nature through gardens, pools, and fountains.’
  • in the nature of

    • Similar in type to or having the characteristics of.

      ‘the promise was in the nature of a check that bounced’
      • ‘The gesture set the tone for his speech, which was in the nature of conciliatory advice to the new president.’
      • ‘It is in the nature of an administrative process and not a judicial process.’
      • ‘Rather the lie was more in the nature of a fantasy about getting out of a life which is undesirable.’
      • ‘The request by the defendants is not in the nature of a further or additional psychiatric assessment.’
      • ‘As presented, while these are called diaries, they are often more in the nature of a commonplace book.’
      • ‘As it turned out, most of the addresses of people in this House were in the nature of ritual protestations.’
      • ‘So this is actually in the nature of an apology for the extreme scarcity of posts this week.’
      • ‘First, I do not consider that the empty cinema could properly be described as an unusual danger in the nature of a fire hazard.’
      • ‘But the fact is that these are in the nature of exceptions rather than the rule.’
      • ‘It looked more like something in the nature of a U2 spy plane than a commercial jet.’
      • ‘The other options under the tax saving bond are in the nature of deep discount bonds.’
      • ‘In general, these rights are in the nature of freedoms rather than positive rights to social or economic benefits.’
      • ‘For the reasons I have already given, I cannot see that any right in the nature of a class right is involved in the present case.’
      • ‘When dilemmas come they're in the nature of how to merge your book collection with your spouse's.’
      like, much the same as, comparable to, close to, near, near to, in the nature of
      View synonyms
  • in the nature of things

    • 1Inevitable.

      ‘it is in the nature of things that the majority of music prizes get set up for performers rather than composers’
      • ‘It undoubtedly takes a more complex and multi-faceted view of things than some of my earlier films but I think that's just in the nature of things.’
      • ‘This was in the nature of things: it would in turn fulfil that glorious destiny for which the republic had been preparing following several decades of expansion across the great plains.’
      • ‘It is in the nature of these things that the timing and duration of our visits were occasionally unpredictable.’
      • ‘That was in the nature of things in our society; it was expected that my father, as one who had done well, would help others to get their start in life.’
      • ‘It's probably in the nature of things that a Toronto awards show should be focused on Toronto talent, but some of Montreal's brightest lights did get noticed in Hogtown.’
    • 2Inevitably.

      ‘in the nature of things, old people spend much more time indoors’
      • ‘Such a role would, in the nature of things, be subject to numerous pressures and attempts to exploit or subvert it.’
      • ‘This would be a stupid argument since phase A rather inevitably leads to phase B, and B is in the nature of things the complicated phase.’
      • ‘There is also the possibility, which in the nature of things must remain shadowy, that military propagandists fostered the rumours as a way of boosting morale.’
      • ‘But his ‘crucial test’, as he now explains it, is one that, in the nature of things, simply can't be met, or would be so improbable as to amount to an impossibility.’
      • ‘It's also true that in the nature of things, billionaires are more likely to be right-wing than left-wing fanatics.’
      • ‘Toleration in its deepest essence is founded on this view of human nature, a view that, in the nature of things, impresses itself most urgently upon us at the moments of our greatest destructiveness.’
      • ‘All ethics committees require evidence of safety, but, in the nature of things, such statements have to be more provisional than is generally acknowledged.’
      • ‘Tourist areas, in the nature of things, are places where others want to live.’
      • ‘Of course, in the nature of things, this is not the role of councils themselves but of entrepreneurial sectors of our community in partnership with the authorities.’
      • ‘But in the nature of things, sometimes the greatest disaster is the greatest opportunity.’
      • ‘The reason for this is that the affidavit in support of the claim will usually be made by the liquidator, who in the nature of things, will have no firsthand knowledge of the matters to which he deposes.’
      • ‘We owe many faithful readers to Hugh, as well as the kind of debt that, in the nature of things, can never be repaid.’
      • ‘Yet in the nature of these things, none of these objectives can be guaranteed.’
  • in a state of nature

    • 1In an uncivilized or uncultivated state.

      • ‘The course of reasoning, by which this conclusion is attained, is very much this: That in a state of nature all men are free.’
      • ‘Thomas Hobbes, in one of the best known and most abused phrases in the English language, described the life of man in a state of nature as ‘solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short’.’
      • ‘King Lear too offers a perspective on man in a state of nature, clearing away the trappings of power and the symbolisms of majesty and sovereignty to place a monarch firmly on the heath.’
      • ‘Human beings living in a state of nature, and fearing death, must form a civil association by authorizing some superior power to rule them by law - an outcome Hobbes thought would most commonly come about through conquest.’
      • ‘All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.’
      • ‘I don't believe the Rousseau argument that if you leave everything in a state of nature, then everything will be peaceful and loving.’
      • ‘Civil liberty means the liberty of a citizen, not the abstract liberty of an individual in a state of nature.’
      • ‘The question which now became pressing was whether the seas were regions in which men found themselves once again in a state of nature, which meant that no law could apply except that of the strongest.’
      • ‘This is an amazing example of what John Locke argued in his Second Treatise about what man in a state of nature gives up when he joins a commonwealth and enters a society that agrees to give up some of their power to form a government.’
      • ‘Natural rights were those rights people enjoyed in a state of nature, independent of any organized society: the right to life and liberty and the right to attempt to procure property.’
      • ‘Blacks Law Dictionary defines wild animals as ‘Animals in a untamable disposition; animals in a state of nature.’’
      • ‘In addition, lacking the power to impose justice on his neighbour, he lacks also the right to it; hence there is no wrongdoing in a state of nature.’
    • 2Totally naked.

      • ‘My theory is that my great grandparents were walking happily hand-in-hand in Cannaught Place, she clad in hot pants and he completely in a state of nature.’
      • ‘He led me to a room where dozens of men were in a state of nature and invited me to change into my judo costume.’
    • 3Christian Theology
      In a morally unregenerate condition, unredeemed by divine grace.

  • the nature of the beast

    • informal The inherent or essential quality or character of something, which cannot be changed.

      • ‘I spend a lot of time in meetings that I could otherwise spend productively, but that's the nature of the beast in my profession.’
      • ‘Creative people are rarely consistent people: it's the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘Technical perfection easily wins over any hint of real emotion, but that's largely the nature of the beast, I suppose.’
      • ‘But that's the nature of the beast when you're doing a sprawling drama that takes place in real time.’
      • ‘Sure, no doubt it's politically minded - that's the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘This is both a strength and a weakness, as we will see, but ultimately it is the nature of the beast and nothing to get upset about.’
      • ‘All network security plans are too complex; it's the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘Life has never been fair, that's just the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘Anyone who rises to political power often loses perspective, and that's just the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘There is no question that there's a lot of instability that comes with democracy and it's the nature of the beast that it's turbulent and uncertain.’
      • ‘It is the nature of the beast that everything has to be black and white in football.’
      • ‘The addition of invented material, however, changes the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘It is surely in the nature of the beast that young people will try to ‘prove themselves’ by doing what is forbidden to them (even if they do usually fail).’
      • ‘While it's the nature of the beast, I suppose, that the tone of our commentary is critical, we are well attuned to the fact that everyone makes mistakes on occasion.’
      • ‘It is in the nature of the beast to hold back on things to achieve some perceived advantage in life.’
      • ‘Depression imposes some limitations on those actively in its grip; it is the nature of the beast to impair cognitive functioning and to induce passivity.’
      • ‘A lot of times those calling for the officers to continue will, in the following year, be their most ardent critics, such is the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘We may not like having to ‘borrow’ terms from other languages, but that is just the nature of the beast.’
      • ‘It seems to be a win-win situation, although such is the nature of the beast that the Union is sure to grumble at losing control.’
      • ‘And the key to reversing the control of this psychopathic institution is to understand the nature of the beast.’

Origin

Middle English (denoting the physical power of a person): from Old French, from Latin natura ‘birth, nature, quality’, from nat- ‘born’, from the verb nasci.

Pronunciation

nature

/ˈneɪtʃər//ˈnāCHər/