Definition of nurse shark in US English:

nurse shark


  • A shark with barbels on the snout.

    Three species in the family Orectolobidae (or Ginglymostomatidae), in particular Ginglymostoma cirratum, a slow-swimming brownish shark of warm Atlantic waters

    • ‘The whale shark, the hammerhead and the nurse shark are impossible to confuse.’
    • ‘Normally calm species of sharks such as the nurse shark can be provoked to violence if they take a liking to your Starter Jacket.’
    • ‘On our first dive, 77 minutes at Palancar caves, we saw one of everything: a nurse shark, hawksbill turtle, spotted eagle ray, southern stingray, green moray, and a spotted moray.’
    • ‘It's called a nurse shark because you see those barbels under the mouth.’
    • ‘Of particular concern is the grey nurse shark, a smaller, less predatory shark living off the coast of New South Wales and Queensland.’


Mid 19th century: nurse ‘dogfish shark’, alteration of Middle English nusse, perhaps derived (by wrong division) from an huss (see huss).


nurse shark

/ˈnərs ˌSHärk/