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empty nest

noun
1.
a household in which one or more parents live after the children have left home:
Our only child just moved into her first apartment, so we have an empty nest.
2.
a stage in a parent’s life after the children have left home.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for empty nest
Historical Examples
  • And a woman,—her heart is like an empty nest, if she has not a child.

    The Ruling Passion Henry van Dyke
  • For don't you think she hates an empty nest as much as any human mother?

    Highacres Jane Abbott
  • Broken-hearted little Mrs. Ruffed Grouse sat beside her empty nest, with all the broken shells about her.

    Old Mother West Wind Thornton W. Burgess
  • But the mother's eyes smiled in the darkness—she was thinking of the empty nest.

    Highacres Jane Abbott
  • Presently they were in possession of Pannonia, the empty nest of the Vandals.

  • "One does not care to linger around an empty nest," I replied moodily.

    For The Admiral W.J. Marx
  • In an empty nest at the top of a tall linden tree sat Windekind with the wreath of wind-flowers upon his head.

    The Quest Frederik van Eeden
  • Brokenhearted little Mrs. Ruffed Grouse sat beside her empty nest, with all the broken shells about her.

  • In the tree branches that clattered outside, her eyes fell on an empty nest.

    Jewel Weed Alice Ames Winter
  • I return to my empty nest a desolate mother, but never shall I forget your generous sympathy.

empty nest in Culture

empty nest definition


The stage in a family's cycle when the children have grown up and left home to begin their own adult lives.

Note: For parents, the empty nest sometimes results in midlife anxiety.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with empty nest

empty nest

The home of parents whose children have grown up and moved out. For example, Now that they had an empty nest, Jim and Jane opened a bed-and-breakfast. This expression, alluding to a nest from which baby birds have flown, gave rise to such related ones as empty-nester, for a parent whose children had moved out, and empty-nest syndrome, for the state of mind of parents whose children had left. [ c. 1970 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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