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

Also, maybe the other team would start to get nervous. Charles Rich, latimes.com, "All-Area Boys' Tennis Doubles Team of the Year: Lees take game up another notch," 5 July 2018 His family's Labrador retriever gets nervous and shakes when fireworks and other loud noises sound. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Dog found covered in blood, urine and feces after fleeing fireworks," 2 July 2018 The Bucks County woman was taking high doses of the highly addictive pain medications until her doctor got nervous in fall 2016. Stacey Burling, Philly.com, "Lost in the battle to create fewer new patients addicted to opioids: Longtime pain patients," 24 May 2018 The suspect appeared nervous and fled the bank without money. Ramona Sentinel, "‘Skinny Bandit’ suspect, alleged accomplice arrested," 23 June 2018 Identification is then reduced to such subtle characters as primary projection of the wingtips, completeness of the eye ring, bill size and whether the bird appears nervous or calm. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Willow flycatchers are maddingly difficult to identify in the field," 13 June 2018 China is nervous about the perception of vulnerability. The Economist, "As its trade tussle with America heats up, China is on the back foot," 5 July 2018 That could be a good sign for Ohio State if South Carolina is nervous about losing Hilinski. Bill Landis, cleveland.com, "Ohio State offers another committed 2019 QB; 5-star LB ready to pick a school: Buckeyes recruiting," 14 May 2018 Inside the lake, rising water levels have authorities nervous about a potential breech in the leak-prone Herbert Hoover Dike, which could flood 37,000 nearby residents. Alex Harris, miamiherald, "Army Corps can’t promise 2016’s algae blooms won’t return, but this strategy may help," 12 July 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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Statistics for nervous

Last Updated

4 Nov 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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