un·nerve | \ ˌən-ˈnərv \
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 \ adverb

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 situation is fast-moving, creating immense uncertainty that has unnerved the markets. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "Italy Still Has Time to Avert a Disaster," 30 May 2018 Why have markets held up when the prospect of a trade war unnerves many on Wall Street? BostonGlobe.com, "Trade war fears aren’t hurting stock market," 17 June 2018 Why have the markets held up when the prospect of a trade war unnerves many on Wall Street? Peter Eavis, New York Times, "Investors Fret About a Trade War, but They Aren’t Fleeing the Stock Market," 17 June 2018 Most famously, on Aug. 16, American Brigadier-General William Hull, unnerved by an English and Native American force outside Detroit’s walls, surrendered without a fight. Detroit Free Press, "Donald Trump trade war threatens strong Detroit-Windsor ties," 22 June 2018 The features are indistinct, but what is there — a fedora, a striped tie, a certain barrel shape to the belly, a familiar stride — is enough to unnerve me. John Kelly, Washington Post, "An unnerving Father’s Day gift has left me pondering portraiture — and the soul," 18 June 2018 There is no question that the scale of Mr. Trump’s assault on the institutions and arrangements at the core of that system over the past year has unnerved Europe’s political leaders. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "As Trump Arrives, Europe Frets Over His Designs on Postwar Global Order," 10 July 2018 Another aspect of James’ management that should unnerve investors is his apparent predilection for using Domo as his personal piggy bank, with family members given drawdown rights. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Hype and plunder: This high-tech company may be setting a new low for self-indulgent IPOs," 4 June 2018 This debased situation, increasingly obvious, has unnerved even the officers. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Journey's End': In the trenches with WWI soldiers," 28 Mar. 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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Statistics for unnerve

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unnerve

The first known use of unnerve was in 1603

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More Definitions for unnerve



English Language Learners Definition of unnerve

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


un·nerve | \ ˌən-ˈnərv \
unnerved; unnerving

Kids Definition of unnerve

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

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