nerve

noun
\ ˈnərv How to pronounce nerve (audio) \

Definition of nerve

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : sinew, tendon strain every nerve
2 : any of the filamentous bands of nervous tissue that connect parts of the nervous system with the other organs, conduct nerve impulses, and are made up of axons and dendrites together with protective and supportive structures
3a : power of endurance or control : fortitude, strength
b : assurance, boldness also : presumptuous audacity : gall
4a : a sore or sensitive point her remark touched a nerve
b nerves plural : nervous agitation or irritability : nervousness a case of nerves
6 : the sensitive pulp of a tooth

nerve

verb
nerved; nerving

Definition of nerve (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give strength or courage to : supply with physical or moral force

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Choose the Right Synonym for nerve

Noun

temerity, audacity, hardihood, effrontery, nerve, cheek, gall, chutzpah mean conspicuous or flagrant boldness. temerity suggests boldness arising from rashness and contempt of danger. had the temerity to refuse audacity implies a disregard of restraints commonly imposed by convention or prudence. an entrepreneur with audacity and vision hardihood suggests firmness in daring and defiance. admired for her hardihood effrontery implies shameless, insolent disregard of propriety or courtesy. outraged at his effrontery nerve, cheek, gall, and chutzpah are informal equivalents for effrontery. the nerve of that guy has the cheek to call herself a singer had the gall to demand proof the chutzpah needed for a career in show business

Examples of nerve in a Sentence

Noun

The optic nerve in the eye allows you to see. a condition affecting the nerves in her arm It takes a lot of nerve to start a new career. He found the nerve to stand up to his boss. I was going to ask her to the dance, but I lost my nerve. You have a lot of nerve to talk to me that way. I can't believe she had the nerve to call me a liar.

Verb

needs to nerve himself for the big game tomorrow
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The United States and the Netherlands played evenly in the first half of Sunday’s final, with the Dutch stanching the vaunted American attack with nerve and physicality for the game’s first hour. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "U.S. Wins World Cup and Becomes a Champion for Its Time," 7 July 2019 The Dutch have an impressive goalkeeper in Sari Van Veenendaal, who has posted two straight shutouts, but U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has proven her nerve and ability in three straight 2-1 victories in knockout play. Helene Elliott, latimes.com, "Women’s World Cup: U.S. ignoring its critics as it focuses on title," 6 July 2019 Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which the immune system attacks nerves and can paralyze the body, has also been linked to Zika. Rose Minutaglio, PEOPLE.com, "The Zika Virus: Your Questions, Answered," 3 July 2019 In the contest of guts and nerve and skill that was the final round of the 119th U.S. Open, Gary Woodland was the last man standing. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Gary Woodland holds off Brooks Koepka to win US Open," 17 June 2019 They're linked together, the professional golfer with steely nerves and the 20-year-old with Down syndrome. Tim Dahlberg, sun-sentinel.com, "Column: You got this! Amy and the US Open champion," 17 June 2019 They're linked together, the professional golfer with steely nerves and the 20-year-old with Down Syndrome. Tim Dahlberg, chicagotribune.com, "‘You got this!’ The story behind Amy and the U.S. Open champion," 17 June 2019 Garlow says caffeine can trigger even more nerves and increase your heart rate. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "How to Make Your Bikini Wax Less Painful, According to Experts," 1 Apr. 2019 More importantly, the show is all about realizing the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of the queens who dare to make the the cut for the competition—this is exactly Lizzo’s lane. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Lizzo Lands A Cosmetics Campaign With Urban Decay That Celebrates Her Uniqueness," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Calcium: High in calcium, açaí berries will help keep your bones, heart, muscles, and nerves strong and healthy. Tehrene Firman, Good Housekeeping, "10 Things You Should Know About Açaí Berries, Nature's "Purple Gold"," 23 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nerve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nerve

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1750, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nerve

Noun

Latin nervus sinew, nerve; akin to Greek neuron sinew, nerve, nēn to spin — more at needle

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Statistics for nerve

Last Updated

23 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nerve

The first known use of nerve was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for nerve

nerve

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nerve

: one of the many thin parts that control movement and feeling by carrying messages between the brain and other parts of the body
: courage that allows you to do something that is dangerous, difficult, or frightening
: the rude attitude of someone who says or does things that make other people angry or upset

nerve

noun
\ ˈnərv How to pronounce nerve (audio) \

Kids Definition of nerve

1 : a bundle of nerve fibers that carries messages in the form of nerve impulses to or away from the brain and spinal cord
2 : courage, boldness “I've always wanted to do something like that … I just didn't have the nerve.”— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control
3 : rude or disrespectful boldness You've got a lot of nerve to talk to me that way.
4 nerves plural : feelings of worry The groom suffered from nerves before the wedding.
5 : the sensitive soft inner part of a tooth

Other Words from nerve

nerveless \ -​ləs \ adjective

nerve

noun
\ ˈnərv How to pronounce nerve (audio) \

Medical Definition of nerve

1 : any of the filamentous bands of nervous tissue that connect parts of the nervous system with the other organs, conduct nerve impulses, and are made up of axons and dendrites together with protective and supportive structures and that for the larger nerves have the fibers gathered into funiculi surrounded by a perineurium and the funiculi enclosed in a common epineurium
2 nerves plural : a state or condition of nervous agitation or irritability
3 : the sensitive pulp of a tooth

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More from Merriam-Webster on nerve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nerve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nerve

Spanish Central: Translation of nerve

Nglish: Translation of nerve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nerve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nerve

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