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From Middle English noricerie, norserye (children's nursery; state of being fostered or nursed; education, upbringing) [and other forms],[1] from Old French norricerie, nourricerie, from norrice, nourrice (modern French nourrice (childminder, nanny; wet nurse)) + -erie (suffix forming feminine nouns). Norrice and nourrice are derived from Late Latin nūtrīcia (wet nurse), from Latin nūtrīcius (that nurses or suckles; nourishing), from nūtriō (to breastfeed, nurse, suckle), possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(s)neh₂- (to flow). The English word may be analysed as nourice, nurse +‎ -ery (suffix forming nouns meaning ‘place of’).[2]



nursery (countable and uncountable, plural nurseries)

  1. (countable) A place where nursing (breastfeeding) or the raising of children is carried on.
    1. (by extension) Especially in European countries: a room or area in a household set apart for the care of children.
      • 1869 May, Anthony Trollope, “Lady Milborough as Ambassador”, in He Knew He Was Right, volume I, London: Strahan and Company, publishers, [], OCLC 1118026626, page 87:
        As soon as she was alone and the carriage had been driven well away from the door, Mrs. Trevelyan left the drawing-room and went up to the nursery. As she entered she clothed her face with her sweetest smile. "How is his own mother's dearest, dearest, darling duck?" she said, putting out her arms and taking the boy from the nurse.
      • 1907, Robert William Chambers, “His Own People”, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326, page 14:
        But they had already discovered that he could be bullied, and they had it their own way; and presently Selwyn lay prone upon the nursery floor, impersonating a ladrone while pleasant shivers chased themselves over Drina, whom he was stalking.
    2. A place where the pre-school children of working parents are supervised during the day; a crèche, a daycare centre.
    3. A nursery school (a school where pre-school children learn and play at the same time).
    4. (Philippines) The first year of pre-school.
  2. (countable, also figuratively) A place where anything is fostered and growth promoted.
    • c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i], page 210, column 2:
      [S]ince for the great deſire I had / To ſee faire Padua, nurſerie of Arts, / I am arriu'd for fruitfull Lombardie, / The pleaſant garden of great Italy.
    • 1822 October, Joshua L[acy] Wilson, “Sermon I. Methods of Peace.”, in Original Sermons; by Presbyterian Ministers, in the Mississippi Valley, Cincinnati, Oh.: Published by M‘Millan & Clopper. [], published 1833, OCLC 7636930, page 22:
      [I]n fine, they must consider Christian families as the nurseries of the church on earth, as the church on earth is the nursery of the church in heaven; and thus be brought to bring up youth in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord:" and then we shall have peace; then all will speak the same things, and there will be no divisions among you.
    1. (agriculture, zoology) A place where animals breed, or where young animals are naturally or artificially reared (for example, on a farm).
    2. (horticulture) A place where young shrubs, trees, vines, etc., are cultivated for transplanting, or (more generally) made available for public sale, a garden centre; also (obsolete) a plantation of young trees.
    3. (sports) A club or team for developing the skills of young players.
  3. (countable) Something which educates and nurtures.
    Commerce is the nursery of seamen.
    • 2011, Tracey Wickham; ‎Peter Meares, Treading Water, page 7:
      Nudgee College is regarded as the greatest rugby nursery in Queensland, with the boys in the blue-and-white butcher's stripes winning more Greater Public School rugby premierships than any other team.
  4. (countable, billiards) Short for nursery cannon (a carom shot involving balls that are very close together).
  5. (countable, obsolete, rare) Someone or something that is nursed; a nursling.
  6. (uncountable, obsolete) The act of nursing or rearing.

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Borrowed from English nursery.


nursery f (invariable)

  1. nursery (place for the care of children)