\ ˈnər-vē How to pronounce nervy (audio) \
nervier; nerviest

Definition of nervy

1 archaic : sinewy, strong
2a : showing or expressive of calm courage : bold
b : marked by effrontery or presumption : brash

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from nervy

nervily \ ˈnər-​və-​lē How to pronounce nervy (audio) \ adverb
nerviness \ ˈnər-​vē-​nəs How to pronounce nervy (audio) \ noun

Examples of nervy in a Sentence

a nervy performance in the play-offs a nervy film director who's not afraid to take risks The passengers were restless and nervy after the long flight. Too much coffee makes me nervy.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web There are many examples of rich, barrel-fermented, sur lie-aged Chardonnays done exceptionally well, their richness in beautiful tension with nervy acidity. Esther Mobley,, "Chardonnay: California’s great white grape," 17 Oct. 2016 But Fulham hit back in the 62nd minute through Bobby Decordova-Reid and Mitrovic's superb header four minutes later led to a nervy ending for Leeds before the points were sealed. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Manchester United sunk by former player Wilfried Zaha in sorry start to EPL season," 19 Sep. 2020 The Lions fended off a nervy handful of minutes but ultimately walked away with their fourth draw in the last five matches. Julia Poe,, "Orlando City draws New York Red Bulls; clinches first playoff bid," 18 Oct. 2020 Bobby Reid and Aleksandar Mitrovic, with his second goal of the game, ensured a nervy finale at Elland Road but Leeds hung on. Steve Douglas, Star Tribune, "Disjointed and overrun, Man Utd slumps to loss on EPL return," 19 Sep. 2020 Johnson held a seemingly comfortable five-shot going into the final day, but endured a nervy finish down the stretch after seeing his lead cut to just two by playing partner Xander Schauffele. Patrick Snell, CNN, "Dustin Johnson wins Tour Championship to clinch FedEx Cup and pocket $15 million prize," 8 Sep. 2020 That is welcome after a nervy start to the year for bookshops, which hardly make bumper profits even in boom years. The Economist, "Shopping is back Britain’s bookshops reopen," 20 June 2020 This moment felt both amazing and incredibly nervy. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "“The trampoline is working”—SpaceX returns human spaceflight to America," 30 May 2020 The outer movements are nervy and restless, never settling, set against a still, melancholy adagio. E.c., The Economist, "Classical music A trio-sonata playlist," 21 May 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of nervy

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nervy

Time Traveler for nervy

Time Traveler

The first known use of nervy was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nervy

Last Updated

25 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nervy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nervy


How to pronounce nervy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nervy

US, approving : having or showing courage or confidence
US, disapproving used to describe someone who says or does rude or shocking things that make other people angry or upset
British : feeling unpleasantly nervous or excited : not calm


\ ˈnər-vē How to pronounce nervy (audio) \
nervier; nerviest

Kids Definition of nervy

1 : showing calm courage The team won after a nervy performance.
2 : showing or acting with disrespectful boldness

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nervy

What made you want to look up nervy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!