nervous

adjective
ner·vous | \ ˈnər-vəs \

Definition of nervous 

1 archaic : sinewy, strong

2 : marked by strength of thought, feeling, or style : spirited a vibrant tight-packed nervous style of writing

3 : of, relating to, or composed of neurons

4a : of or relating to the nerves also : originating in or affected by the nerves nervous energy a nervous twitch

b : easily excited or irritated : jumpy … so nervous that he had to be escorted outside court to vomit … —Kevin Johnson and Andrea Stone

c : timid, apprehensive a nervous smile nervous of strangers

5a : tending to produce nervousness or agitation : uneasy a nervous situation His face was twisted in nervous anticipation. —Dagoberto Gilb

b : appearing or acting unsteady, erratic, or irregular used of inanimate things … climbed carefully into his nervous kayak … —Farley Mowat

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Other words from nervous

nervously adverb
nervousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for nervous

vigorous, energetic, strenuous, lusty, nervous mean having or showing great vitality and force. vigorous further implies showing no signs of depletion or diminishing of freshness or robustness. as vigorous as a youth half his age energetic suggests a capacity for intense activity. an energetic campaigner strenuous suggests a preference for coping with the arduous or the challenging. the strenuous life on an oil rig lusty implies exuberant energy and capacity for enjoyment. a lusty appetite for life nervous suggests especially the forcibleness and sustained effectiveness resulting from mental vigor. full of nervous energy

Examples of nervous in a Sentence

She is nervous about her job interview. All this waiting is making me nervous. He gave a nervous glance at the clock. His nervous mother is always worrying that something terrible will happen to him. He has a nervous disposition. It was a very nervous situation. She suffers from a nervous disorder. He walked around with a nervous twitch. He had a nervous habit of pulling at his hair. The boy has a lot of nervous energy.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Very nervous and upset obviously with the unknown situation. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Touching photo captures paramedic comforting girl, 3, after she nearly drowned at water park," 3 July 2018 Everyone gets nervous about dating, so the quotes about pre-date jitters and awkward lulls in the conversation were easy to relate to. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "I Was a Successful 19-Year-Old Matchmaker and Totally Clueless About My Own Love Life," 26 June 2018 Really nervous what the @SacramentoKings are going to do #SacramentoProud #NBADraft — Slickvic (@Vic14530) June 20, 2018 stressing over this Kings draft pick... Noel Harris, sacbee, "Kings fans are freaking out over the draft. Why No. 2 pick is a ‘blessing’ and a ‘curse’," 20 June 2018 Fajman said provisional and emergency ballots aren’t used often and poll workers get nervous, forgetting to initial the filing. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Training aims to stop poll workers' errors from disqualifying votes," 19 June 2018 There's also a phone number to call if maze-runners get nervous. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Milwaukee Maze invites families to get lost (in a good way) in 10,000 square feet of fun," 17 May 2018 The freshman from Benbrook High School, which opened in 2014, stumbled out of the starting blocks Saturday, admittedly nervous. Rick Mauch, star-telegram, "Benbrook freshman sprints to school's first gold-medal effort | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 May 2018 Ayton was nervous and out of sorts in Phoenix’s first game, had double-doubles in the Suns’ wins over Sacramento and Orlando and then committed six turnovers in a lackluster performance against Philadelphia on Thursday. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns' summer-league takeaways: Deandre Ayton's progress, efforts of Davon Reed, Shaq Harrison," 13 July 2018 With just hours remaining until free agency, The Decision 3.0 is making fans nervous across several teams and has achieved peak media interest. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "NBA Free Agency Rumors: Cavaliers Plan to Keep Kevin Love if LeBron James Leaves," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nervous.' 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 nervous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nervous

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French nervus, nervous, borrowed from Latin nervōsus "full of tendons, sinewy, tough, vigorous (of a person or literary style)," from nervus "sinew, muscle, nerve entry 1" + -ōsus -ous

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Phrases Related to nervous

nervous energy

nervous wreck

Statistics for nervous

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nervous

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

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More Definitions for nervous

nervous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nervous

: having or showing feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen

: often or easily becoming worried and afraid about what might happen

: causing someone to feel worried and afraid : making someone nervous

nervous

adjective
ner·vous | \ ˈnər-vəs \

Kids Definition of nervous

1 : having or showing feelings of worry, fear, or anxiety Having to give a speech makes me nervous.

2 : easily becoming worried, frightened, or anxious She's a nervous driver.

3 : of, relating to, or made up of nerves or nerve cells nervous tissue

Other words from nervous

nervously adverb
nervousness noun

nervous

adjective
ner·vous | \ ˈnər-vəs \

Medical Definition of nervous 

1 : of, relating to, or composed of neurons the nervous layer of the eye

2a : of or relating to the nerves also : originating in or affected by the nerves nervous energy

b : easily excited or irritated

Other words from nervous

nervously adverb
nervousness noun

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Comments on nervous

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