neurotic1 of 2
: an emotionally unstable individual
Adjective This most fastidious of pianists sounds anything but neurotic when he plays Mozart. —Richard Coles, Times Literary Supplement, 15 Nov. 2002 Maybe it's because novelists don't talk much about each other. Maybe this is because novelists secrete a certain BO which only other novelists detect, like certain buzzards who emit a repellent pheromone detectable only by other buzzards, which is to say that only a novelist can know how neurotic, devious, underhanded a novelist can be. —Walker Percy, "An Interview With Zoltán Abádi-Nagy," 1987, in Signposts in a Strange Land, 1991 In our own time, the most perfect examples of such biography … are the matchless case-histories of Freud. Freud here shows, with absolute clarity, that the on-going nature of neurotic illness and its treatment cannot be displayed except by biography. —Oliver Sacks, Awakenings, (1973) 1990 The psychiatrist diagnosed the patient as neurotic. My neurotic mother scolded me for staying out 10 minutes past curfew. He is neurotic about his job. Noun More than any rebirth, one senses in the England of 1911 a civilization's unconscious death wish, vividly present in the author's glimpses of the poet Rupert Brooke, that squeaky-clean neurotic, a casualty waiting to happen. —Thomas Mallon, New York Times Book Review, 27 May 2007 As a claustrophobe—perhaps the only kind of neurotic out of place in New York—I find nothing in the city more terrifying than a stalled subway car. —John Tierney, New York Times Magazine, 19 Mar. 1995 You are too much something for a tubercular neurotic who can only be jealous and mean and perverse. —F. Scott Fitzgerald, letter, 2 Dec. 1939 He was diagnosed as a neurotic. He is a neurotic about keeping his clothes neat. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
AdjectiveBut Kate was a more neurotic proposition than past Russell characters — gorgeous enough to be the subject of a Vogue spread in the show but also sweaty, squirrelly, with a lot of angst behind the poise. —Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2023 And unlike our daughter’s neurotic rescue dog — Merlin, an eight-pound mutt — the 80-pound Archie wasn’t going to fit under an airplane seat. —John Kelly, Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2023 More recent were roles as Mary Todd Lincoln in miniseries Lincoln in 1988 (which netted Mary an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special), and as Ben Stiller's neurotic adoptive mother in 1996 theatrical comedy Flirting With Disaster. —Marc Berman, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Smart, vulnerable, slightly neurotic, frequently ironic, always compelling. —Brent Lang, Variety, 19 Apr. 2023 Almost a century later, the debates chronicled in Bruno Schulz, and even the book itself, feel somewhat neurotic—a perfect example of the melancholia that Freud described as mourning gone wrong. —Adam Kirsch, The New Republic, 6 Apr. 2023 The film’s fragmented reality comes to a crescendo in a shocking ending that leaves viewers confounded and questioning what was real and what was merely an illusion of Nina’s neurotic, compulsive perfectionism. —Men's Health, 17 Mar. 2023 Albert was mildly neurotic. —BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2022 In other words, a dog’s stress levels would shift based on whether their owner was more or less neurotic, open and aware of their surroundings. —Mac Stone, Discover Magazine, 21 Mar. 2023
NounAfter getting his start in television, Grodin graduated to both leading and character roles in motion pictures, usually portraying the exasperated urban neurotic. —Carmel Dagan, chicagotribune.com, 18 May 2021 The eight-episode series follows Melissa (Rothwell), a fat, Black neurotic who’s never been in love. —Selome Hailu, Variety, 17 Nov. 2022 Kruger has the moxie to play Marie as a standoffish neurotic, Nyong’o creates an unusually emotional hacker, and Cruz, as the one who’s more devoted to her family than to global realpolitik, proves the sweetest of wild cards. —Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 6 Jan. 2022 Seinfeld, which stars Jerry Seinfeld as a fictionalized version of himself, pokes fun at neurotics like Seinfeld and his friends, who overthink and worry about too many little things. —Nina Huang, EW.com, 1 May 2020 Learn about the connection between neurotics and Brexit. —Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 15 June 2018 But economy-class neurotics will have to make do while their shrink answers emails or knits cardigans during their sessions. —Joe Queenan, WSJ, 11 May 2018 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'neurotic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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