Middle English nestlen, from Old English nestlian "build a nest, make or live in a (bird's) nest," from nest (see nest (n.)) + suffix -el (3). Figurative sense of "settle (oneself) comfortably, snuggle" is recorded by 1540s. In Middle English also "take shelter as if in a nest." Related: Nestled; nestling.
Entries linking to nestle
"structure built by a bird or domestic fowl for the insulation and rearing of its young," Old English nest "bird's nest; snug retreat," also "young bird, brood," from Proto-Germanic *nistaz (source also of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch nest, German Nest; not found in Scandinavian or Gothic), from PIE *nizdo- (source also of Sanskrit nidah "resting place, nest," Latin nidus "nest," Old Church Slavonic gnezdo, Old Irish net, Welsh nyth, Breton nez "nest"), probably from *ni "down" + from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit."
From c. 1200 of an animal or insect. Used since Middle English in reference to various accumulations of things, especially of diminishing sizes, each fitting within the next (such as a nest of drawers, early 18c.). Nest egg "retirement savings" is from 1700; it was originally "a real or artificial egg left in a nest to induce the hen to go on laying there" (nest ei, early 14c.), hence "something laid up as the beginning of a continued growth."
derivational suffix, also -le, used mostly with verbs but originally also with nouns, "often denoting diminutive, repetitive, or intensive actions or events" [The Middle English Compendium], from Old English. Compare brastlian alongside berstan (see burst); nestlian (see nestle) alongside nistan). It is likely also in wrestle, trample, draggle, struggle, twinkle, also noddle "to make frequent nods" (1733). New formations in Middle English might be native formations (jostle from joust) with this or borrowings from Dutch.
early 15c., "to bring the nose to the ground," back-formation from noselyng "face-downward, on the nose, in a prostrate position" (c. 1400), frequentative of nose (v.). The meaning "burrow with the nose, thrust the nose into" is attested from 1520s; that of "lie snug" is from 1590s, influenced by nestle, or by nursle, frequentative of nurse (v.). Related: Nuzzled; nuzzling.
updated on May 25, 2019
The little cottage nestles in the forest
The baby nestled her head in her mother's elbow