• nidicolous •Pronunciation: ni-di-kê-lês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Remaining in the nest for some time after birth. 2. Taking up residence in the nests of other animals.
Notes: Please do not confuse today's word with ridiculous—it is so easy to mix them up. The antonym of today's Good Word is nidifugous "leaving the nest right after hatching or birth". The word for "build a nest" is nidify, and the noun from this verb is nidification.
In Play: Birds are the most obvious nidicolous creatures, but so are mammals that live underground if their young are helpless at birth. Bunnies are born blind and helpless, so they are also nidicolous. Most waterfowl are nidifugous. Ducks and geese are covered with down and may leave the nest shortly after hatching.
Word History: Today's word is a compound adjective composed of Latin nidus "nest + col- "take care of, cultivate, inhabit" + an adjective suffix. Nidus seems to have no ancestors, though evidence of them show up in English nest and Armenian nist "situation, residence". The best theory is that nidus was once a derivation consisting of ni- "down" + sed- "sit, set" + a noun suffix. Colere seems to have come from the same word that turned up as kolo "round, wheel, cart" in the Slavic languages. If cultivation was associated with the wheel in among early Indo-Europeans, and ancient peoples cultivated the land around their homes, with a stretch of the imagination we can see a semantic connection between Slavic kolo and Latin colere. (We owe Barbara Kelly a note of gratitude for bringing this interesting pair of words to our attention.)