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2 definitions found
 for nisus
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Nisus \Ni"sus\, n. [L., fr. niti, p. p. nisus, to strive.]
     1. A striving; an effort; a conatus.
        [1913 Webster]
              A nisus or energizing towards a presented object.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. (Physiol.)
        (a) The periodic procreative desire manifested in the
            spring by birds, etc.
        (b) The contraction of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles
            to evacuate feces or urine.
            [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: an effortful attempt to attain a goal [syn: striving,
           nisus, pains, strain]

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