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nervous Line breaks: ner|vous
Pronunciation: /ˈnəːvəs/

Definition of nervous in English:


1Easily agitated or alarmed: a sensitive, nervous person
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.
highly strung, easily frightened, easily agitated, anxious, edgy, tense, excitable, jumpy, skittish, brittle, neurotic, hysterical;
timid, timorous, mousy, shy, fearful, frightened, frightened of one's own shadow, apprehensive, scared;
British  nervy
informal trepidatious
1.1Anxious or apprehensive: staying in the house on her own made her nervous he’s nervous of speaking in public
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.
anxious, worried, apprehensive, on edge, edgy, tense, strained, stressed, agitated, in a state of nerves, in a state of agitation, uneasy, restless, worked up, keyed up, overwrought, wrought up, strung out, jumpy, on tenterhooks, with one's stomach in knots, fidgety, fearful, frightened, scared, with one's heart in one's mouth, like a cat on a hot tin roof, quaking, trembling, shaking, shaking in one's shoes, shaky, on pins and needles, in a cold sweat, fevered, febrile
informal with butterflies in one's stomach, jittery, twitchy, in a state, uptight, wired, in a stew, all of a dither, all of a doodah, in a sweat, in a flap, in a tizz/tizzy, all of a lather, het up, in a twitter
North American informal spooky, squirrelly, in a twit
Australian/New Zealand informal toey
British vulgar slang shitting bricks, bricking oneself
dated overstrung
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.

Words that rhyme with nervous

redivivus • fulvous
Definition of nervous in:
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