nurse

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Variant form of the archaic nourice, from Old French norrice, from Latin nutricius (that nourishes), from nutrix (wet nurse), from nutrire (to suckle).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

nurse (plural nurses)

  1. (archaic) A wet-nurse.
  2. A person (usually a woman) who takes care of other people’s young.
    They hired a nurse to care for their young boy
  3. A person trained to provide care for the sick.
    The nurse made her rounds through the hospital ward
  4. One who, or that which, brings up, rears, causes to grow, trains, fosters, or the like.
    • Burke
      the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise
  5. (nautical) A lieutenant or first officer who takes command when the captain is unfit for his place.
  6. A larva of certain trematodes, which produces cercariae by asexual reproduction.
  7. A nurse shark.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Some speakers consider nurses (medical workers) to be female by default, and thus use "male nurse" to refer to a man doing the same job.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

nurse (third-person singular simple present nurses, present participle nursing, simple past and past participle nursed)

  1. to breast feed
    She believes that nursing her baby will make him strong and healthy.
  2. to care for the sick
    She nursed him back to health.
  3. to treat kindly and with extra care
    She nursed the rosebush and that season it bloomed.
  4. to drink slowly
  5. to foster, to nourish
  6. to hold closely to one's chest
    Would you like to nurse the puppy?
  7. to strike (billiard balls) gently, so as to keep them in good position during a series of shots
    • 1866, United States. Congress. Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Supplemental report of the Joint Committee
      It is to our interest to let Lee and Johnston come together, just as a billiard-player would nurse the balls when he has them in a nice place.

Usage notes[edit]

In sense “to drink slowly”, generally negative and particularly used for someone at a bar, suggesting they either cannot afford to buy another drink or are too miserly to do so. By contrast, sip is more neutral.

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