un·​nerve | \ ˌən-ˈnərv How to pronounce unnerve (audio) \
unnerved; unnerving; unnerves

Definition of unnerve

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of courage, strength, or steadiness
2 : to cause to become nervous : upset

Other Words from unnerve

unnervingly \ ˌən-​ˈnər-​viŋ-​lē How to pronounce unnerve (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for unnerve



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Choose the Right Synonym for unnerve

unnerve, enervate, unman, emasculate mean to deprive of strength or vigor and the capacity for effective action. unnerve implies marked often temporary loss of courage, self-control, or power to act. unnerved by the near collision enervate suggests a gradual physical or moral weakening (as through luxury or indolence) until one is too feeble to make an effort. a nation's youth enervated by affluence and leisure unman implies a loss of manly vigor, fortitude, or spirit. a soldier unmanned by the terrors of battle emasculate stresses a depriving of characteristic force by removing something essential. an amendment that emasculates existing safeguards

Examples of unnerve in a Sentence

Seeing the police in there unnerved me. She was unnerved by his strange manner.
Recent Examples on the Web This would be enough to unnerve anyone, but Shining Girls takes its creepy conceit even farther as Kirby is left perpetually off-kilter and unbalanced as her life continually shifts after her attack. Jace Lacob, EW.com, 25 July 2022 Ukraine has also accused Russia of setting off explosions at the plant in order to unnerve Ukraine’s European allies about nuclear safety and perhaps discourage them from arming Ukraine further. Vivian Yee, BostonGlobe.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Ukraine has also accused the Russians of setting off explosions at the plant intended to unnerve European allies about nuclear safety and discourage arming Ukraine. Arkansas Online, 7 Aug. 2022 The mass shooting was just the latest to unnerve Americans in 2022. CBS News, 17 July 2022 The current invasion of the Italian capital comes from e-scooters -- more than 14,000 of them -- modern chariots that block sidewalks, unnerve drivers and kill. Barbie Latza Nadeau With Hada Messia, CNN, 19 June 2022 This moment could unnerve even the most seasoned coach — Final Four berth at stake, the winningest coach in college basketball history on the opposing bench, that same adversary only one loss from retirement. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Mar. 2022 The prospect of more protesters this weekend threatens to further unnerve residents who find themselves in the middle of a fight over measures to contain Covid-19 and encourage vaccination. Paul Vieira, WSJ, 4 Feb. 2022 The Hirshhorn’s 2017 show brought teeming crowds and hours-long, winding lines that would unnerve almost anyone in a pandemic-cautious world. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unnerve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of unnerve

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of unnerve was in 1603

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unnerve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unnerve. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for unnerve


un·​nerve | \ ˌən-ˈnərv How to pronounce unnerve (audio) \
unnerved; unnerving

Kids Definition of unnerve

: to cause to lose confidence, courage, or self-control

More from Merriam-Webster on unnerve

Nglish: Translation of unnerve for Spanish Speakers


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