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From Middle English norischen, from Old French nouriss-, stem of one of the conjugated forms of norrir, from Latin nutriō (to suckle, feed, foster, nourish, cherish, preserve, support).



nourish (plural nourishes)

  1. (obsolete) A nurse.


nourish (third-person singular simple present nourishes, present participle nourishing, simple past and past participle nourished)

  1. (transitive) To feed and cause to grow; to supply with food or other matter which increases weight and promotes health.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Isaiah 44:14:
      He planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.
    • 1623, Francis Bacon, Historia Vitae et Mortis:
      other carnivorous Animals are difficultly nourished by Plants alone
    • 1872, Thomas Bull, The Maternal Management of Children, in Health and Diseases:
      Children nourished exclusively upon this simple food will be found to enjoy more perfect health
    • 1996, Alexander Frank Skutch, Orioles, Blackbirds, and Their Kin: A Natural History:
      we have ample evidence that male Bobolinks do not shirk the labor of nourishing their families. In a four-year study, Wittenberger (1980, 1982) found that males delivered about 60 Bobolink percent of the food.
  2. (transitive) To support; to maintain; to be responsible for.
  3. (transitive) To encourage; to foster; to stimulate
    to nourish civility
    to nourish a sense of self-worth
    • 2003, Marilyn Byfield Paul, It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys:
      When we slow down to pay attention to our own experience, we open ourselves to the love and richness that is here all the time. These are moments that can nourish your connection to your heart.
    • 2010, Colin L. Powell, My American Journey:
      I thanked the Fort Leavenworth military historian, Colonel von Schlemmer, for nourishing my first hope to memorialize the Buffalo Soldiers
  4. (transitive)To cherish; to comfort.
  5. (transitive, of a person) To educate or bring up; to nurture; to promote emotional, spiritual or other non-physical growth.
  6. (intransitive) To promote growth; to furnish nutriment.
    This type of nourishes very well.
  7. (intransitive, obsolete) To gain nourishment.
    • 1625, Francis [Bacon], “Of Empire”, in The Essayes [], 3rd edition, London: [] Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret, →OCLC:
      a kingdom may have good limbs, but will have empty veins, and nourish little

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