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wet nurse

a woman hired to suckle another's infant.
Origin of wet nurse


[wet-nurs] /ˈwɛtˌnɜrs/
verb (used with object), wet-nursed, wet-nursing.
to act as a wet nurse to (an infant).
to give excessive care or attention to; treat as if helpless:
The warden is accused of wet-nursing his prisoners.
1775-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wet-nurse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nounou—a wet-nurse with a pretty ribboned cap and long streamers.

    Trilby George Du Maurier
  • "Well, I'm damned," said the wet-nurse And went out, looking thoughtful.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The office of wet-nurse you duly fulfilled, but I shall now look out for another attendant for the boy.

    The Sisters, Complete Georg Ebers
  • She wished they were larger though, and dreamed of having breasts like a wet-nurse.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Shelley needed excuses for his altered attitude toward his wife; Providence pitied him and sent the wet-nurse.

    In Defense of Harriet Shelley Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • The choosing of a wet-nurse is a matter of great moment and responsibility.

    The Physical Life of Woman: Dr. George H Napheys
  • When he spoke it was with a slight stutter, a trick of speech which he declared he had inherited from his wet-nurse.

  • Of course the reader recognises in her the wet-nurse who had exchanged her child.

    Peter Simple Frederick Marryat
  • She had found it so sick at the house of the wet-nurse that morning that she had brought it back with her to Paris.

British Dictionary definitions for wet-nurse

wet nurse

a woman hired to suckle the child of another
verb (transitive)
to act as a wet nurse to (a child)
(informal) to attend with great devotion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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wet-nurse in Medicine

wet nurse n.
A woman employed to breast-feed a child that is not her own.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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