empty nest

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.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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