\ ˈnər-vē How to pronounce nervy (audio) \
nervier; nerviest

Definition of nervy

1 archaic : sinewy, strong
2a : showing or expressive of calm courage : bold
b : marked by effrontery or presumption : brash

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Other Words from nervy

nervily \ ˈnər-​və-​lē How to pronounce nervily (audio) \ adverb
nerviness \ ˈnər-​vē-​nəs How to pronounce nerviness (audio) \ noun

Examples of nervy in a Sentence

a nervy performance in the play-offs a nervy film director who's not afraid to take risks The passengers were restless and nervy after the long flight. Too much coffee makes me nervy.
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Recent Examples on the Web That is welcome after a nervy start to the year for bookshops, which hardly make bumper profits even in boom years. The Economist, "Shopping is back Britain’s bookshops reopen," 20 June 2020 This moment felt both amazing and incredibly nervy. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "“The trampoline is working”—SpaceX returns human spaceflight to America," 30 May 2020 The outer movements are nervy and restless, never settling, set against a still, melancholy adagio. E.c., The Economist, "Classical music A trio-sonata playlist," 21 May 2020 Opponents Liverpool are currently level on points with Emery's men having also won their first two fixtures of the year, defeating Norwich City 4-1 at Anfield, before securing a nervy 2-1 win at Southampton., "Unai Emery Hints Nicolas Pepe Could Make First Arsenal Start at Liverpool," 22 Aug. 2019 The nerviest choice made by the writers is surely the one made at the end. David Segal, New York Times, "‘Better Call Saul’ Season 5, Episode 8 Recap: A Little Drive Through the Desert," 6 Apr. 2020 With new, larger variable-geometry turbos heaving into a new engine with a slightly shorter stroke than the 991's version, the assumption may have been for a somewhat more temperamental, nervy, on-edge driving experience in the new ogre. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet: Fast Headroom," 16 Apr. 2020 Substitute Erik Lamela powered into the Chelsea penalty area and his effort was deflected into his own net by defender Antonio Rudiger, leaving for a nervy last few moments for the home side before a vital three points was sealed. Paul Gittings, CNN, "VAR officials own up to red card blunder as Chelsea defeats Spurs in crunch London derby," 22 Feb. 2020 Unfortunately, the produce section can lead a nervous (or nervy?) person to be inappropriate. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Readers wonder how to meet, or repel," 18 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nervy.' 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 nervy

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for nervy

Time Traveler

The first known use of nervy was in 1598

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Statistics for nervy

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nervy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for nervy


How to pronounce nervy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nervy

US, approving : having or showing courage or confidence
US, disapproving used to describe someone who says or does rude or shocking things that make other people angry or upset
British : feeling unpleasantly nervous or excited : not calm


\ ˈnər-vē How to pronounce nervy (audio) \
nervier; nerviest

Kids Definition of nervy

1 : showing calm courage The team won after a nervy performance.
2 : showing or acting with disrespectful boldness

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More from Merriam-Webster on nervy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nervy

Spanish Central: Translation of nervy

Nglish: Translation of nervy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nervy for Arabic Speakers

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