You searched for: “cr
Word Entries at Get Words containing the term: “cr
crèche, creche (KRESH) (s) (noun); crèches (KRESH uhs) (pl)
1. In the United States, a set of figures that represent the scene of Jesus Christ's birth and which is displayed during Christmas; a representation of the Nativity scene: The children gathered around the crèche and sang Christmas songs.
2. Primarily British, a hospital for orphaned infants; a foundling hospital: Merna's aunt worked as a housekeeper at the famous crèche for orphaned children after the war.
3. Chiefly British, a day care center; a place where young children are cared for during the day while their parents are working: Katherine learned many delightful songs and games when she attended the local crèche.
4. In biology, a group of young birds, animals, etc. that stay together for protection; especially, among birds, a gathering of the young of several families, tended by one or more adults; such as, ducks, geese, etc.: The fox crèche which included about six fox babies was watched over by the vixen or mother fox.
5. Etymology: from French for "crib", a day nursery provided by the state, a local government, or by private institutions which enables mothers to work while their babies are cared for by others.

A crèche, or communal nursery

Even the crèche, which is the social core of every pride of lions, is shaped by violence. This was verified after scrutinizing groups of nursing mothers for countless hours.

A lactating female nursed another's young rarely, usually after an unrelated cub sneaked onto her nipple. An alert lioness reserved her milk for her own offspring.

In contrast to the widespread belief that crèches were maternal "day-care centers", it was observed that nursing mothers stick together primarily for defense.

During takeovers by outside males, solitary females lost litter after litter, while cooperating lionesses stood a better chance of protecting their cubs and fending off males, each of which can outweigh a female by as much as fifty percent.

—Compiled from information located in
"The Truth about Lions" by Abigail Tucker;
Smithsonian magazine; January, 2010; page 34.
This entry is located in the following units: English Words in Action, Group C (page 6) Words of French origin (page 3)