a pocketlike, usually more or less circular structure of twigs, grass, mud, etc., formed by a bird, often high in a tree, as a place in which to lay and incubate its eggs and rear its young; any protected place used by a bird for these purposes.
a place used by insects, fishes, turtles, rabbits, etc., for depositing their eggs or young.
a number of birds, insects, animals, etc., inhabiting one such place.
a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home.
an assemblage of things lying or set close together, as a series of boxes or trays, that fit within each other:
a nest of tables.
a place where something bad is fostered or flourishes:
a nest of vice; a robber's nest.
the occupants or frequenters of such a place.
verb (used with object)
to settle or place (something) in or as if in a nest:
to nest dishes in straw.
to fit or place one within another:
to nest boxes for more compact storage.
verb (used without object)
to build or have a nest:
The swallows nested under the eaves.
to settle in or as if in a nest.
to fit together or within another or one another:
bowls that nest easily for storage.
to search for or collect nests:
to go nesting.
Computers. to place a routine inside another routine that is at a higher hierarchical level.
before 900;Middle English,Old English (cognate with Dutch,Germannest; akin to Latinnīdus nest, Old Irishnet,Welshnyth,Sanskritnīḍa lair) ≪ Indo-European*nizdo- bird's nest, equivalent to *ni down (see nether) + *zd-, variant of *sd-, ablaut variant of *sed-, v. base meaning “sit” (see sit) + *-o- theme vowel
O.E. nest "bird's nest, snug retreat," from P.Gmc. *nistaz (cf. M.L.G., M.Du., Ger. nest), from PIE *nizdo- (cf. Skt. nidah "resting place, nest," L. nidus "nest," O.C.S. gnezdo, O.Ir. net, Welsh nyth, Bret. nez "nest"), probably from *ni "down" + *sed- "sit." Used since M.E. in ref. to various accumulations of things (e.g. a nest of drawers, early 18c.). The verb is O.E. nistan, from P.Gmc. *nistijanan.Nest egg "retirement savings" is from 1700, originally "a real or artificial egg left in a nest to induce the hen to go on laying there" (1606).