Definition of nervous in US English:

nervous

adjective

  • 1Easily agitated or alarmed; tending to be anxious; highly strung.

    ‘a sensitive, nervous person’
    ‘these quick, nervous birds’
    • ‘In addition his is always jittery, nervous and panicky, always worried, always tense, never able to relax.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Poppy's nervous, as there's no horror in it, and precious little angst.’
    highly strung, easily frightened, easily agitated, anxious, edgy, tense, excitable, jumpy, skittish, brittle, neurotic, hysterical
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    1. 1.1 Anxious or apprehensive.
      ‘staying in the house on her own made her nervous’
      ‘I was nervous about my new job’
      • ‘You're jittery, and shaky, and always seem slightly nervous about something.’
      • ‘I was getting nervous about my caretaker because I hadn't heard from him in a few days.’
      • ‘Backstage, she admitted to being nervous about her debut live performance.’
      • ‘I was pretty nervous about what to post, so the kind feedback is truly appreciated!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We were pretty stressed and nervous about taking Arthur after the horrible accident of last weekend.’
      • ‘Investors were uneasy about its profit outlook and nervous about the Australian business.’
      • ‘Some visitors are still nervous about coming to the townships of Soweto.’
      • ‘He admits being a little shy and nervous about sending his work off to big labels, but realizes it's gotta get done.’
      • ‘I was nervous about the whole thing and worried that something bad would happen to us all.’
      • ‘Foreign investors are nervous about coming in because of the deteriorating security situation.’
      • ‘I wasn't nervous about how the play would be received - nothing like that at all.’
      • ‘His first show in the city, Rocky was plainly nervous about the response.’
      • ‘But we have been nervous about the UK economy overheating for some time now.’
      • ‘Yes, I think we are almost at the leading edge, but I am a bit nervous about getting too far ahead.’
      • ‘You must have been a little bit nervous of what the safety situation is there.’
      • ‘I was really nervous about the gig because I'd have to introduce him.’
      • ‘Not that I had anything to really be nervous about, you understand.’
      • ‘Warn the airline if you are exceptionally nervous about flying.’
      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
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    2. 1.2 (of a feeling or reaction) resulting from anxiety or anticipation.
      ‘nervous energy’
      • ‘So Fiona Shaw presents us with a woman who is wreathed in actorly display yet is also in a state of nervous panic.’
      • ‘A cry of nervous excitement broke through the chill, winter air and Washington nodded once more grimly.’
      • ‘By the time the race takes place, I was feeling something of the nervous excitement which grips the city.’
      • ‘There is a kind of indifferent nervous energy in the later works which makes this quite plausible.’
      • ‘They will also know that dogs that do not receive enough exercise tend to chew, bark and bite as their excess nervous energy builds up.’
      • ‘Jimmy always talked through matches, almost like a nervous reaction.’
      • ‘I had been pacing around on the patio burning off nervous energy and this brought me to a halt.’
      • ‘I eyed the folder in her hands with both nervous excitement and a little bit of foreboding.’
      • ‘The end result of all that nervous energy was, unsurprisingly, an ugly push into the rough and a bogey start.’
      • ‘I commented on this and was told the rashes were a nervous reaction to low-flying jets and explosions.’
      • ‘The thought of his blind date gives him a rush of anticipatory nervous excitement.’
      • ‘Thoroughly demoralized by my dream, I was in a state of nervous fright by the time I got to the venue.’
      • ‘Most of the girls were up at the crack of dawn because of their nervous excitement.’
      • ‘The nervous and physical energy expended drained him in the second half, hence his withdrawal, said Williamson.’
      • ‘He has a nervous energy that makes his onstage presence intense and mesmerizing.’
      • ‘Taxiing back from our test flight, there was a kind of nervous excitement in the cabin.’
      • ‘It is an excited nervous feeling though, full of expectation and anticipation.’
      • ‘He is wearing a white polo and dark jeans and he is biting his lip in a fit of nervous anxiety.’
      • ‘Feet slipping beneath them, they gripped the rail and stared at the ice, nervous excitement etched on their faces.’
      • ‘Up in the scorebox, Christie kept the board ticking along with all the nervous energy that explains why he hates just watching.’
      embarrassed, uncomfortable, ill at ease, uneasy, tense, edgy
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  • 2Relating to or affecting the nerves.

    ‘a nervous disorder’
    • ‘He attributed the nervous disorders of his later life to the shock of these deaths.’
    • ‘He also said the woman's case history files showed she had been treated for nervous disorders.’
    • ‘He isolated it as a nervous disease and explained it physiologically as a disorder of the brain.’
    • ‘Too ill to work and plagued by nervous disorders, these victims have almost given up on life.’
    • ‘Stress and other psychological factors such as anxiety cause bowel symptoms by affecting this nervous control.’
    • ‘This aspect may cause frequent headaches and also can produce nervous disorders.’
    • ‘One might imagine that nervous tissue consists of nerve cells and very little else.’
    neurological, neural, neuro-
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

nervous

/ˈnərvəs//ˈnərvəs/