Meaning of Words

Meaning of words – the etymology of “nurture”

It’s no coincidence that nurture is a synonym of nourish-both are derived from the Latin verb nutrire, meaning “to suckle” or “to nourish.” The noun nurture first appeared in English in the 14th century, but the verb didn’t arrive until the 15th century. Originally, the verb nurture meant “to feed or nourish.” The sense meaning “to promote the development of” didn’t come into being until the end of the 18th century. Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, is credited with first giving life to that sense in her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792): “Public spirit must be nurtured by private virtue.” Other nutrire descendants in English include nutrient, nutritious, nutriment, nutrition, and, of course, nourishment.

Also from

NURTURE (noun)

1 : training, upbringing

With proper focus during early nurture, one can grow into a secure being …— Ella Pearson Mitchell

2 : something that nourishes : food …

fed him well, and nourished himself, and took nurture for the road …— R. D. Blackmore

3 : the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism

Is our character affected more by nature or by nurture?

NURTURE (verb)

1 : to supply with nourishment

care for and nurture a baby

2 : educate …

nurture kids in clean, colorful rooms with the latest books and learning gadgets.— Sue Shellenbarger

3 : to further the development of : foster …

nurture his intellectual inclinations.— Ray Olson
nurture a friendship


NURTURE (verb)
to take care of, feed, and protect someone or something, especially young children or plants, and help him, her, or it to develop:

She wants to stay at home and nurture her children.
a carefully nurtured garden

to help a plan or a person to develop and be successful:

As a record company executive, his job is to nurture young talent.

to have a particular emotion, plan, or idea for a long time:

Winifred nurtured ambitions for her daughter to be a surgeon

Nurture (noun)

the way in which children are treated as they are growing, especially as compared with the characteristics they are born with:

Which do you believe has the strongest influence on how children develop – nature or nurture?


A combination of contradictory or incongruous words.

A concept that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements.