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empty nest

A family home inhabited by parents after their children have grown up and departed. Many parents feel depressed when they are left in an empty nest.
See also: empty, nest

cuckoo in the nest

Someone in a group who is seen as different and ostracized by his or her peers. Since Sam always got good grades and never got in trouble, he was seen by his unruly peers as a cuckoo in the nest.
See also: cuckoo, nest

Birds in their little nests agree.

Prov. People who live together should try hard to get along peacefully. (Usually used to admonish children not to fight with each other.) Brother: She called me a name! Sister: I did not! He's a liar! Father: Now, now, kids—birds in their little nests agree. Let's not argue about this, guys. Birds in their little nests agree.
See also: agree, Bird, little, nest

dust bunny

 and a dust kitten; a turkey's nest
Kg. a clump of dust and lint. She swept the dust bunnies out from under the bed. There's a huge dust kitten behind the chiffarobe. He hasn't cleaned in weeks. There are turkey's nests in every corner.
See also: bunny, dust

feather one's (own) nest

1. Fig. to decorate and furnish one's home in style and comfort. (Alludes to birds lining their nests with feathers to make them warm and comfortable.) With the new family room and expanded kitchen, they seem to have feathered their nest quite comfortably.
2. Fig. to use power and prestige to provide for oneself selfishly. (Said especially of politicians who use their offices to make money for themselves.) The mayor seemed to be helping people, but she was really feathering her own nest. The building contractor used a lot of public money to feather his nest.
See also: feather, nest

foul one's own nest

Fig. to harm one's own interests; to bring disadvantage upon oneself. (Alludes to a bird excreting into its own nest. See also It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.) He tried to discredit a fellow senator with the president, but just succeeded in fouling his own nest. The boss really dislikes Mary. She certainly fouled her own nest when she spread those rumors about him.
See also: foul, nest

It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

Prov. Only a foolish or dishonorable person would bring dishonor to his or her self or his or her surroundings.; Only a bad person would ruin the place where he or she lives. (See also foul one's own nest.) I don't like my new neighbor. Not only does he never mow his lawn, he covers it with all kinds of trash. It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
See also: bird, foul, ill, nest

nest in something

to build a nest in something and live in it. Some mice nested in a corner of the garage. The birds nested in the eaves.
See also: nest

nest together

to fit together or within one another compactly. These mixing bowls nest together. I want some of those Russian wooden dolls that nest together.
See also: nest, together

stir someone up

Fig. to get someone excited; to get someone angry. (Fig. on stir something up.) The march music really stirred the audience up. The march stirred up the audience.
See also: stir, up

stir something up

1. Lit. to mix something by stirring. Please stir the pancake batter up before you use it. Please stir up the batter.
2. Fig. to cause trouble. Why are you always trying to stir trouble up? Are you stirring up trouble again?
See also: stir, up

stir up a hornet's nest

Fig. to create a lot of trouble. (Fig. on stir something up .) If you say that to her, you will be stirring up a hornet's nest. There is no need to stir up a hornet's nest.
See also: nest, stir, up

feather your (own) nest

to make a lot of money for yourself While the CEO feathered his own nest, his company was firing employees by the hundreds.
Usage notes: usually said about someone who takes unfair advantage of others
Related vocabulary: line your (own) pockets
See also: feather, nest

leave the nest

also fly the nest
to move from your parents' home and live independently Our kids have all left the nest and the house seems empty now.
See also: leave, nest

stir up somebody/something

also stir up a hornet's nest
to cause a situation that upsets many people One official claimed that foreign activists were stirring up trouble. The threat of censorship stirred up a hornet's nest of criticism on the Internet.
See also: stir, up

a cuckoo in the nest

someone who is part of a group of people but different from them and not liked by them For Peter, his new father was a cuckoo in the nest.
See also: cuckoo, nest

empty nest syndrome

the sad feelings which parents have when their children grow up and leave home The last of her children had recently moved out and she was suffering from empty nest syndrome.
See also: empty, nest, syndrome

feather your own nest

to dishonestly use your position at work to get a lot of money for yourself What angers him most of all is the implication that he has been feathering his own nest.
See You could have knocked me down with a feather!
See also: feather, nest

a hornet's nest

a situation or subject which causes a lot of people to become angry and upset
Usage notes: A hornet is a large insect that stings people badly.
His remarks on the role of women have stirred up a hornet's nest amongst feminists. Animal cloning is a real hornet's nest.
See also: nest

a love nest

a home where two people who love each other live together, or a home where two people meet secretly in order to have sex Apparently, they had a love nest in Soho where they used to meet at lunchtime.
See also: love, nest

a mare's nest

a very confused situation The law on restrictive trade is a mare's nest that scarcely anyone can comprehend.
See also: nest

a nest egg

an amount of money that you have saved Regular investment of small amounts of money is an excellent way of building a nest egg.
See also: egg, nest

fly/leave the nest

to leave your parents' home for the first time in order to live somewhere else Once the kids have all flown the nest we might sell this house and move somewhere smaller.
See also: fly, nest

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]
See also: empty, nest

feather one's nest

Acquire wealth for oneself, especially by taking advantage of one's position or using the property of others. For example, Bill's many profitable consulting assignments enabled him to feather his nest quite comfortably . This expression alludes to birds making a soft nest for their eggs. [Mid-1500s]
See also: feather, nest

foul one's nest

Also, foul one's own nest. Hurt one's own interests, as in With his constant complaints about his wife, he's only fouling his own nest. This metaphoric expression transfers a bird's soiling of its nest to human behavior. [Mid-1200s]
See also: foul, nest

stir up

1. Mix together the ingredients or parts, as in He stirred up some pancake batter, or Will you stir up the fire? [Mid-1300s]
2. Rouse to action, incite, provoke, as in He's always stirring up trouble among the campers, or If the strikers aren't careful they'll stir up a riot. [First half of 1500s] Also see stir up a hornets' nest.
See also: stir, up

stir up a hornets' nest

Make trouble, cause a commotion, as in Asking for an audit of the treasurer's books stirred up a hornets' nest in the association. This metaphoric term, likening hornets to angry humans, dates from the first half of the 1700s.
See also: nest, stir, up

stir up

1. To mix something before cooking or use: You must stir up the concrete thoroughly before you start paving the path. I poured the batter into a bowl and stirred it up vigorously.
2. To churn or agitate something into a state of turbulence: The storm stirred up the normally placid lake. The wind stirs the leaves up.
3. To cause something to form by churning or agitating: The truck zoomed off, stirring a cloud of dust up behind it. I stirred up a batch of concrete in the mixer and got to work paving the driveway.
4. To rouse the emotions of someone or something; excite someone or something: The protesters hope to stir up the public through this demonstration. The teacher stirred the students up when she threatened to give them more work.
5. To summon some collective emotion or sentiment by exciting a group of people: The court's verdict was certain to stir up controversy. The tourism board is trying to stir up interest in the city.
6. To evoke some mental image or remembrance: That old picture stirs up many memories for me.
See also: stir, up

nest egg

n. money saved for some important purpose, such as retirement. I lost most of my nest egg in the market crash.
See also: egg, nest

feather (one's) nest

To grow wealthy by taking advantage of one's position or by making use of property or funds left in one's trust.
See also: feather, nest
References in classic literature ?
One day I fortunately chanced to witness a migration from one nest to another, and it was a most interesting spectacle to behold the masters carefully carrying, as Huber has described, their slaves in their jaws.
sanguinea emerge, carrying a pupa; but I was not able to find the desolated nest in the thick heath.
The masters determine when and where a new nest shall be formed, and when they migrate, the masters carry the slaves.
So he commanded Tip to take off Jack's head and lie down with it in the bottom of the nest, and when this was done he ordered the Woggle-Bug to lie beside Tip.
Perceiving the intruders in their nest the birds flew down upon them with screams of rage.
I'm for the hawk's nest, and anything that turns up.
The latter is a typical nest predator in Brazilian savanna, although there is no recording of Curl-crested Jays preying on cavity nests (Franca et al.
Turtle nests are demarcated with a protective aluminium cage and a small sign.
Nesting activity observed in 2007-2009 on two oxbows (Oxbow 1 and Oxbow 2) at Tishomingo NWR showed that nests made by the reintroduced females tended to be clustered, within and among years.
A GULL has found an unusual spot to build a nest - in the middle of a busy Tyneside train station.
Total 250 nests were selected to test the hypothesis that middle canopy of the nesting tree harbours more number of nests in comparison to the lower and higher canopy of the nesting tree.
In the study, very few ants appeared to make direct comparisons between the two nests by making multiple visits to each before choosing one or the other.
As we could hot autonest, we were creating nests in our CAD software manually and exporting a complete DXF nest for the CAM system to program.
A long running round-the-clock security operation to protect a pair of rare hen harriers at a secret woodland location has paid dividends after five chicks hatched at the nest.
Furthermore, reclamation of the surface mines on which most of the nests were located in southern Illinois was completed within 5 years of the initiation of the study, thus, the successional stage of the vegetation in those habitats has likely advanced considerably since the original study; leading to potential changes in nest success.