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

The metabolites responsible for the fluorescence are active in the light skin the same way that similar metabolites activate in the central nervous and immune systems in other animals. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "These sharks glow bright green in the dark," 8 Aug. 2019 Students are most commonly nervous about getting along with roommates, living in a tight space, and eating healthy, though the former takes the cake for the most responses by far. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "The Majority of Incoming College Freshman are Unsure of How They're Going to Pay for Their Education," 8 Aug. 2019 The guests, dressed up in striking suits and luxe fabrics, appear both nervous and excited to mingle with their peers, take photos and maybe show off a few dance moves, should their song come on. Nolan Feeney, Billboard, "5 LGBTQ Trailblazers on Why 'The World Is Changing': Billboard's First Pride Roundtable," 8 Aug. 2019 Oceanographer Anna Wåhlin paced across the bridge of the Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker like a nervous parent waiting for a teenager out past curfew. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "A Submarine Goes Under a Failing Glacier to Gauge Rising Seas," 6 Aug. 2019 When a teller tried to talk to him, the nervous man quickly left and got into a red minivan driven by a woman. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Police: Nervous robber arrested after he rides away from bungled holdup in Manchester and robs another bank," 5 Aug. 2019 Not exactly the kind of touchdown that nervous passenger Brian Lewerke expected, but in many ways somewhat fitting. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Brian Lewerke, military camp and the pursuit of a revival senior season," 2 Aug. 2019 The accounting scandals will no doubt make those foreign investors mighty nervous. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "In India and China, Scandals Blunt Investor Confidence: CEO Daily," 1 Aug. 2019 Though, sometimes, monetary policy can boost the economy in the short run, particularly when the economy is in a recession, when consumers and investors are most nervous and lower rates make spending and investing more attractive. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "The Fed finally cut rates. Will anyone notice?," 31 July 2019

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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Statistics for nervous

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

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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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on nervous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nervous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nervous

Spanish Central: Translation of nervous

Nglish: Translation of nervous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nervous for Arabic Speakers

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