Literally, a nidus is a nest (or a cluster of eggs).
Figuratively, the nidus of something is its source: the place where that thing is fostered.
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one nidus or multiple niduses.)
"Niduses" is the plural recognized by the OED, so I recommend that one.
But sometimes you'll see "nidi" as the plural.
How to use it:
When you talk about the nidus of something (or a nidus for something), you mean its figurative nest: the place where it's nurtured or where it was born. (Or rather, "hatched!")
That can be a positive thing ("the nidus of technological advancements," "a nidus for youthful curiosity") or a negative thing ("a nidus of sarcasm and hypercriticism," "the nidus for greed").
The literary period between the two World Wars is a nidus of pain, struggle, alienation, fragmentation of the spirit, etc. It doesn't exactly make for happy reading.
Her café attracted artists and writers from around the city and had turned into a nidus for creativity.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "nidus" means when you can explain it without saying "place where something develops" or "locus of growth."
Think of a place that allowed one of your passions or interests to develop, and fill in the blanks: "(Place) furnished a nidus for my love of _____."
Example: "The learning center where I worked after college furnished a nidus for my love of children's literature."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, challenge your powers of memory and recall (or just get ready to reign supreme on Wheel of Fortune) as we play with two-word phrases that you’ll find in a dictionary. We’ll start off with easy tasks and advance to harder ones as the month goes on. See the right answer to each question the following day. You might even see a new phrase that inspires your curiosity and makes you look it up. Have fun! (Note: Every dictionary recognizes a different set of two-word phrases. I used the OED to make these game questions.)
What’s the two-word phrase that you exclaim in surprise that seems to involve a grasshopper-like creature?
Try this one today:
What single word is missing from the chain of two-word phrases below?
A Point Well Made:
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus: “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there.”
1. The closest opposites of NIDUS are
A. CLOSET or JAIL
B. FIELD or MEADOW
C. GRAVE or FURNACE
2. It was _____ that the online forum would be a nidus for _____.
A. hoped .. tolerance of others' beliefs
B. predicted .. the increase in web traffic
C. feared .. experts to share their knowledge with the public
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.