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See also: Nanny and Nanný



(1795) From widespread child's word for "female adult other than mother" (compare Greek νάννα (nánna, aunt)).



nanny (plural nannies)

  1. A child's nurse.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 14, in The China Governess[1]:
      Nanny Broome was looking up at the outer wall. Just under the ceiling there were three lunette windows, heavily barred and blacked out in the normal way by centuries of grime. Their bases were on a level with the pavement outside, a narrow way which was several feet lower than the road behind the house.
  2. (colloquial) A grandmother.
  3. A female goat.
    • 1983, Douglas H. Chadwick, A Beast the Color of Winter: The Mountain Goat Observed, Bison Books (2002), →ISBN, page 159:
      Breeding is a consuming goal, and the ascendance of the sex drive is nearly as apparent in the behavior of a mountain goat billy. So given over is he to following and defending a succession of nannies as he searches for one in heat (estrus), he loses interest in food altogether; []
    • 2005, Richard Cannings, The Rockies: A Natural History, Greystone Books (2005), →ISBN, page 103:
      Nannies and billies look very similar, both having dangerously sharp, curved black horns.
    • 2013, Janet Hurst, The Whole Goat Handbook: Recipes, Cheese, Soap, Crafts & More, Voyageur Press (2013), →ISBN, page 28:
      A farmer friend keeps a video camera in the barn so she can turn on her goat cam and observe her animals at any time of the day or night. A baby monitor picks up the sounds of a nanny when she goes into labor—if the nanny is one who changes the usual pitch of her voice or nervously bleats during kidding.


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nanny (third-person singular simple present nannies, present participle nannying, simple past and past participle nannied)

  1. (intransitive, transitive) To serve as a nanny.
  2. (transitive, derogatory) To treat like a nanny's charges; to coddle. [From the mid-20th c.]
    • 2013 February 21, “Unreality television”, in The Economist:
      In real life, says a Democratic campaign aide, members of Congress are too nannied by staff to stride about hatching plots, one-on-one.
    • 2016 June 24, Angie Willems, “'A drastic change was necessary' - Coventry reacts to Brexit vote”, in Coventry Telegraph:
      All politicians seem worried. After 40-plus years of being nannied by the EU they are now faced with having to stand on their own two feet.