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 Cassie is a 10-year-old Australian cattle dog mix who was simply given a nice grooming at AHS after she was found to be healthy but has shown some nervous and shy tendencies while in the shelter environment. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Cassie and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 15 May 2020 Also included in this collection are tips on entertaining, when those days return, for anyone who is inexperienced or nervous about it. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Reader requests Abby’s baked bean recipe," 13 May 2020 Should the especially nervous cease disinfecting cardboard boxes delivered to their houses? Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Elected Officials Must Keep Us Better Informed about the Coronavirus," 5 May 2020 Soon after presenter and screen star Ernest Borgnine takes the stage at the 1948 Academy Awards, a few attendees depart to another corner of the venue for a brief intermission from the night’s nervous excitement. Los Angeles Times, "How ‘Hollywood’ re-created the 1948 Oscars to the last detail — except the winners," 4 May 2020 However, the pandemic kept ballooning, including in Britain, making us all the more nervous. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "I escaped Covid-19 in Europe and beat India’s lockdown, but I’m not sure I’m any safer," 18 Mar. 2020 Everyone’s a little bit nervous about it—nobody wants a case to come to their floor. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "What It's Like Being a U.S. Healthcare Worker Fighting Coronavirus," 18 Mar. 2020 My hotel seemed increasingly nervous about hosting an over-stayer without a passport. The Economist, "Trapped in Iran," 28 Jan. 2020 Of course, current events had given authorities reason to be nervous. Paula Schleis, cincinnati.com, "Making the call: Why Kent's mayor asked the governor to send the Guard to Kent State," 1 May 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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nervous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nervous. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on nervous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nervous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nervous

Spanish Central: Translation of nervous

Nglish: Translation of nervous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nervous for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nervous

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