a. The action of raising or caring for offspring: the nurture of an infant.
b. Biology The sum of environmental influences and conditions acting on an organism, especially in contrast to heredity.
c. The fostering or overseeing of the development of something: the nurture of an idea.
2. Something that nourishes; sustenance: "The butterfly poked its tiny proboscis down into her hair, probing for nurture" (Barbara Kingsolver).
tr.v. nur·tured, nur·tur·ing, nur·tures
a. To raise or educate (a child, for example).
b. To encourage or help develop; cultivate: "a small college town that had nurtured his intellectual and creative pursuits" (James S. Hirsch).
2. To provide sustenance for; nourish: the meadow that nurtures the cattle.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin nūtrītūra, act of suckling, from Latin nūtrītus, past participle of nūtrīre, to suckle; see (s)nāu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: nurture, cultivate, foster, nurse
These verbs mean to promote and sustain the growth and development of: nurturing hopes; cultivating tolerance; foster friendly relations; nursed the fledgling business.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.