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

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 This allows your baby to feel secure, which helps him or her regulate breathing, temperature and nervous center reactions, according to The Bump. Mary Caldwell, ajc, "Baby sleep: 7 tips for surviving the first few months," 12 July 2018 These drivers might simply be less nervous going about their jobs. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "The Good and Bad of Ride-Sharing When It Comes to Race," 11 July 2018 Its technical ability and fierce resiliency allowed it to capitalize on England’s nervous lapses when victory was in sight. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Croatia tops England in extra time to reach World Cup final," 11 July 2018 Many lawmakers are growing nervous, as Mr. Trump pressures both Beijing and allies in Europe. Jacob M. Schlesinger, WSJ, "This Time Around, Chinese Consumer Products Would Face Tariffs," 11 July 2018 Meyer and O’Hara said the attack has changed them, making them anxious and nervous when out in public. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Victims of machete attack outside Hammond bar say they have relived incident 'over and over'," 10 July 2018 Philadelphia Phillies teammates and fans were likely nervous Tuesday, even if only temporarily. Noel Harris, sacbee, "'Oh, my God. Is my jaw OK?' How an outfield wall got the upper hand on Rhys Hoskins," 10 July 2018 The de facto queen of Wind Gap is Camille’s mother, Adora (played by Patricia Clarkson), the heiress to a fortune made from a pig-slaughtering plant, and a ball of nervous, vicious Southern-belle energy in the mold of a Tennessee Williams character. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Twisted, Enthralling Rot of Sharp Objects," 7 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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Phrases Related to nervous

nervous energy

nervous wreck

Statistics for nervous

Last Updated

23 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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