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Syllabification: nerv·ous
Pronunciation: /ˈnərvəs

Definition of nervous in English:


1Easily agitated or alarmed; tending to be anxious; highly strung: a sensitive, nervous person these quick, nervous birds
More example sentences
  • In addition his is always jittery, nervous and panicky, always worried, always tense, never able to relax.
  • Poppy's nervous, as there's no horror in it, and precious little angst.
  • I consider myself to be a strong person and really do feel for those who are of a nervous disposition anyway as this is terrifying enough.
high-strung, anxious, edgy, tense, excitable, jumpy, skittish, brittle, neurotic;
timid, mousy, shy, fearful
1.1Anxious or apprehensive: staying in the house on her own made her nervous I was nervous about my new job
More example sentences
  • We were pretty stressed and nervous about taking Arthur after the horrible accident of last weekend.
  • The days are gone when I am going to get nervous about games or worry about whether or not I play well.
  • I was, as ever, tense and nervous about the whole thing but I found it quite interesting and nicely handled.
fearful, frightened, scared, shaky, in a cold sweat, gun-shy
informal with butterflies in one's stomach, trepidatious, jittery, twitchy, in a state, uptight, wired, in a flap, het up, strung out, having kittens
1.2(Of a feeling or reaction) resulting from anxiety or anticipation: nervous energy
More example sentences
  • It is an excited nervous feeling though, full of expectation and anticipation.
  • The thought of his blind date gives him a rush of anticipatory nervous excitement.
  • I commented on this and was told the rashes were a nervous reaction to low-flying jets and explosions.
2Relating to or affecting the nerves: a nervous disorder
More example sentences
  • One might imagine that nervous tissue consists of nerve cells and very little else.
  • Too ill to work and plagued by nervous disorders, these victims have almost given up on life.
  • He also said the woman's case history files showed she had been treated for nervous disorders.


late Middle English (in the senses 'containing nerves' and 'relating to the nerves'): from Latin nervosus 'sinewy, vigorous', from nervus 'sinew' (see nerve). sense 1 dates from the mid 18th century.



Example sentences
  • His nut-brown face was tight and his eyes darted nervously around his office and design studio.
  • Over the next hour, perched nervously behind a squat corporate desk, he will barely smile once.
  • Maybe build a little wall for yourself with books and music, maybe venture out nervously to the street.

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