nervous

adjective
ner·​vous | \ ˈnər-vəs How to pronounce nervous (audio) \

Definition of nervous

1a : timid, apprehensive a nervous smile nervous of strangers
b : easily excited or irritated : jumpy … so nervous that he had to be escorted outside court to vomit …— Kevin Johnson and Andrea Stone
c : of or relating to the nerves also : originating in or affected by the nerves nervous energy a nervous twitch
2a : 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
3 : of, relating to, or composed of neurons
4 : marked by strength of thought, feeling, or style : spirited a vibrant tight-packed nervous style of writing
5 archaic : sinewy, strong

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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 Yes — going into a role and being nervous is probably normal for most actors. New York Times, "Kristen Wiig Would Have Said Yes to One Line in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’," 25 Dec. 2020 This kind and generous mom was clearly nervous in the minutes leading to the match. Star Tribune, "Wrestling star Emily Shilson keeps mom quiet by dominating on the mat," 19 Dec. 2020 But as a whole, the Disney lineup is, in a word, nervous. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Disney and Warner Bros. say they believe in moviegoing. Yeah, right.," 11 Dec. 2020 Georgia Republicans have been nervous that Trump allies, such as lawyers Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, discouraging people from voting could suppress GOP turnout in the races that will determine Senate control in the next Congress. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "'If you don't vote, they win': Pence warms up Georgia Republicans ahead of Trump's campaign return," 4 Dec. 2020 The officer said the driver, who appeared to be nervous and said he was headed to a friend’s house, admitted to getting pulled over a lot lately. John Benson, cleveland, "Driver who ‘trims buds’ all day attempts to throw officer off marijuana trail: North Royalton Police Blotter," 2 Dec. 2020 Cohen said that although some charities rely on donations more than others, many groups are nervous because a recession could mean their government funding is also in jeopardy. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Generosity, an 'antidote' to fear, division': How to help those in need on Giving Tuesday," 2 Dec. 2020 When filming the first commercial for her business, Gabby was so nervous in front of the camera that her mom had to take over and read the lines. Washington Post, "Kid entrepreneur invented a better barrette — and gained confidence, too," 1 Dec. 2020 The Howe family, like many others, were nervous when COVID-19 numbers started skyrocketing in the U.S. Katelyn Keenehan, The Arizona Republic, "'A community of hope': Phoenix Children's Chorus is back, with hula hoops and masks," 30 Nov. 2020

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 5

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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Time Traveler for nervous

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for nervous

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nervous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nervous. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for nervous

nervous

adjective
How to pronounce nervous (audio)

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 How to pronounce nervous (audio) \

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 How to pronounce nervous (audio) \

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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