nest

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nest / nest/ • n. 1. a structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young. ∎  a place where an animal or insect breeds or shelters: an ants' nest. ∎  a person's snug or secluded retreat or shelter. ∎  a bowl-shaped object likened to a bird's nest: arrange in nests of lettuce leaves. ∎  a place filled with or frequented by undesirable people or things: a nest of spies. 2. a set of similar objects of graduated sizes, made so that each smaller one fits into the next in size for storage: a nest of tables. • v. 1. [intr.] (of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest: the owls often nest in barns | [as adj.] (nesting) do not disturb nesting birds. 2. [tr.] (often be nested) fit (an object or objects) inside a larger one: the town is nested inside a large crater on the flanks of a volcano. ∎  [intr.] (of a set of objects) fit inside one another: Russian dolls that nest inside one another. ∎  (esp. in computing and linguistics) place (an object or element) in a hierarchical arrangement, typically in a subordinate position: [as adj.] (nested) organisms classified in a series of nested sets | a nested relative clause. DERIVATIVES: nest·ful / -ˌfoŏl/ n. (pl. -fuls) . nest·like / -ˌlīk/ adj.

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nestabreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest •manifest • talkfest • Hammerfest •Almagest • backrest • armrest •redbreast • headrest • imprest •chimney breast • footrest • firecrest •incest • palimpsest • unprocessed •road test • undervest • conquest

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Nest

a number or collection of people; a number of birds or insects gathered in the same place; an accumulation of similar objects; a number of buildings or streets; a set of objects. See also aerie, bike, brood, swarm.

Examples: nest of alleys, 1875; of ants, 1818; of arguments, 1874; of boxes (which fit inside each other), 1658; of low bushes, 1845; of caterpillars, 1760; of chicken, 1562; of coffins (set inside each other, e.g., as in as Egyptian burial), 1834; of crocodiles; of dormice, 1774; of drawers, 1704; of eagles, 1484; of evils, 1666; of fish, 1835; of flowerpots, 1849; of fools, 1721; of foxes, 1470; of goblets, 1524; of hedgehogs; of hornets, 1727; of hummocks, 1756; of kittens, 1881; of mice; of miracles, 1642; of nightcaps, 1689; of outlaws, 1861; of partridge, 1593; of pirates; of profaneness; of quiet streets, 1861; of rabbits, 1470; of robbers; of rumours; of salmon, 1899; of scorpions, 1593; of seraphim, 1652; of shelves, 1785; of tables; of toads, 1589; of traitors; of trotters; of tyranny, 1586; of vipers; of wasps, 1486; of wharfs and warehouses, 1796.

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nest nest egg a sum of money saved for the future; originally, a real or artificial egg left in a nest to induce hens to lay eggs there.

See also birds in their little nests agree, there are no birds in last year's nest, cuckoo in the nest, feather one's own nest, fly the nest, it is an ill bird that fouls its own nest, mare's nest.

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nest Structure built by a living organism to house itself, its eggs, or its young. Nest-builders include some invertebrates, particularly social insects, and members of all the larger groups of vertebrates. The nests of ants, bees, wasps, and termites may be highly elaborate and involve tunnels, passages and chambers. The nests of fish may be simple gravel scoops or enclosed structures, sometimes made of bubbles. Birds' nests vary enormously from simple, cup-shaped arrangements of twigs and other organic materials, to woven or knotted grass or leaves; some birds scrape a hollow in the ground to make a nest, others make nest-holes in cliffs, earth banks or trees. The most highly evolved animal to make a form of a nest is probably the gorilla, which builds a new sleeping platform of branches every night.

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nest bird's laying- and hatching-place OE.; set of similar objects XVI. OE. nest = (M)Du., (O)HG. nest :- IE. *nizdo-, whence also L. nīdus, OIr. net (mod. nead), W. nyth nest, Skr. nīḍá- resting-place; f. *ni down (cf. NETHER) + *sed- SIT.
Hence vb. XIII; repl. OE. nistan = MDu., (O)HG. nisten.