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

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Other Words from unnerve

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for unnerve


demoralize, emasculate, paralyze, undo, unman, unstring



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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

The crisis unnerved India, the U.S. and European countries that had begun expanding relations with Sri Lanka after Mr. Rajapaksa left office. Bill Spindle, WSJ, "Sri Lanka Political Standoff Eases After Court Rulings," 14 Dec. 2018 The best horror is intelligently constructed, enough to keep viewers unnerved even after the adrenaline blast wears off. Verge Staff, The Verge, "Smart scares for smart people," 31 Oct. 2018 The prospect is unsettling to both parties — unnerving Democratic leaders who have strained to mute impeachment demands from the left and Republicans who worry that new disclosures about Mr. Trump could destabilize his presidency. Alexander Burns, New York Times, "Congressional Candidates, Not Mueller, Could Decide Trump’s Future," 17 May 2018 His decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has left global markets in a state of flux and unnerved some of America’s closest allies about the potential for a trade war. Catherine Lucey, Washington Post, "Trump’s high-risk doctrine? Swing for the bleacher seats," 12 May 2018 Officials, who discovered a bomb-making room in Conditt's home in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville, still haven't offered any theories for why Conditt embarked on a bombing campaign that left two dead, four injured and an entire city unnerved. Alene Tchekmedyian, latimes.com, "Nothing suspicious found in package from Austin cleared by LAPD bomb squad in Leimert Park," 22 Mar. 2018 Investors, unnerved by recent global events, rushed to sell off stocks and buy up bonds, driving prices up and yields down. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Mortgage rates reverse course, but decline could be short-lived," 31 May 2018 With tensions once again on the rise, a parade featuring the very missiles that so unnerved Trump last year, and led to a dangerous volley of insults from both leaders, could be seen as a deliberate provocation. Eric Talmadge, Fox News, "N. Korea stages huge parade, holds back on advanced missiles," 9 Sep. 2018 Counseling will be provided to employees unnerved by the incident, the hospital said. Christopher Weber, Fox News, "Authorities arrest Calif. hospital patient who pulled a gun," 12 Sep. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of unnerve

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for unnerve

The first known use of unnerve was in 1603

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English Language Learners Definition of unnerve

somewhat formal : to make (someone) feel afraid or upset and unable to think clearly


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

Kids Definition of unnerve

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on unnerve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unnerve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unnerve

Spanish Central: Translation of unnerve

Nglish: Translation of unnerve for Spanish Speakers

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something valued as if it were money

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