Definition of nervous in English:



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

    ‘a sensitive, nervous person’
    ‘these quick, nervous birds’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    highly strung, easily frightened, easily agitated, anxious, edgy, tense, excitable, jumpy, skittish, brittle, neurotic, hysterical
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    1. 1.1Anxious or apprehensive.
      ‘staying in the house on her own made her nervous’
      ‘I was nervous about my new job’
      • ‘Warn the airline if you are exceptionally nervous about flying.’
      • ‘I wasn't nervous about how the play would be received - nothing like that at all.’
      • ‘You must have been a little bit nervous of what the safety situation is there.’
      • ‘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 pretty nervous about what to post, so the kind feedback is truly appreciated!’
      • ‘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 really nervous about the gig because I'd have to introduce him.’
      • ‘Backstage, she admitted to being nervous about her debut live performance.’
      • ‘But we have been nervous about the UK economy overheating for some time now.’
      • ‘I was, as ever, tense and nervous about the whole thing but I found it quite interesting and nicely handled.’
      • ‘I was getting nervous about my caretaker because I hadn't heard from him in a few days.’
      • ‘You're jittery, and shaky, and always seem slightly nervous about something.’
      • ‘His first show in the city, Rocky was plainly nervous about the response.’
      • ‘Some visitors are still nervous about coming to the townships of Soweto.’
      • ‘Foreign investors are nervous about coming in because of the deteriorating security situation.’
      • ‘I was nervous about the whole thing and worried that something bad would happen to us all.’
      • ‘Not that I had anything to really be nervous about, you understand.’
      • ‘Investors were uneasy about its profit outlook and nervous about the Australian business.’
      • ‘Yes, I think we are almost at the leading edge, but I am a bit nervous about getting too far ahead.’
      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’
      • ‘It is an excited nervous feeling though, full of expectation and anticipation.’
      • ‘The end result of all that nervous energy was, unsurprisingly, an ugly push into the rough and a bogey start.’
      • ‘He is wearing a white polo and dark jeans and he is biting his lip in a fit of nervous anxiety.’
      • ‘Up in the scorebox, Christie kept the board ticking along with all the nervous energy that explains why he hates just watching.’
      • ‘He has a nervous energy that makes his onstage presence intense and mesmerizing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is a kind of indifferent nervous energy in the later works which makes this quite plausible.’
      • ‘By the time the race takes place, I was feeling something of the nervous excitement which grips the city.’
      • ‘Feet slipping beneath them, they gripped the rail and stared at the ice, nervous excitement etched on their faces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thoroughly demoralized by my dream, I was in a state of nervous fright by the time I got to the venue.’
      • ‘Taxiing back from our test flight, there was a kind of nervous excitement in the cabin.’
      • ‘The nervous and physical energy expended drained him in the second half, hence his withdrawal, said Williamson.’
      • ‘I commented on this and was told the rashes were a nervous reaction to low-flying jets and explosions.’
      • ‘A cry of nervous excitement broke through the chill, winter air and Washington nodded once more grimly.’
      • ‘I eyed the folder in her hands with both nervous excitement and a little bit of foreboding.’
      • ‘The thought of his blind date gives him a rush of anticipatory nervous excitement.’
      • ‘So Fiona Shaw presents us with a woman who is wreathed in actorly display yet is also in a state of nervous panic.’
      • ‘Most of the girls were up at the crack of dawn because of their nervous excitement.’
      embarrassed, uncomfortable, ill at ease, uneasy, tense, edgy
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  • 2Relating to or affecting the nerves.

    ‘a nervous disorder’
    • ‘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 attributed the nervous disorders of his later life to the shock of these deaths.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    neurological, neural, neuro-
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Late Middle English (in the senses containing nerves and relating to the nerves): from Latin nervosus sinewy, vigorous from nervus sinew (see nerve). nervous dates from the mid 18th century.