- one or more bundles of fibers forming part of a system that conveys impulses of sensation, motion, etc., between the brain or spinal cord and other parts of the body.
- a sinew or tendon: to strain every nerve.
- firmness or courage under trying circumstances: an assignment requiring nerve.
- boldness; audacity; impudence; impertinence: He had the nerve to say that?
- nerves, nervousness: an attack of nerves.
- strength, vigor, or energy: a test of nerve and stamina.
- (not in technical use) pulp tissue of a tooth.
- Botany. a vein, as in a leaf.
- a line, or one of a system of lines, extending across something.
- to give strength, vigor, or courage to: Encouragement had nerved him for the struggle.
- get on one's nerves, to irritate, annoy, or provoke one: Boisterous children get on my nerves.
Origin of nerve
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- any of the cordlike bundles of fibres that conduct sensory or motor impulses between the brain or spinal cord and another part of the bodyRelated adjective: neural
- courage, bravery, or steadfastness
- lose one's nerve to become timid, esp failing to perform some audacious act
- informal boldness or effrontery; impudencehe had the nerve to swear at me
- muscle or sinew (often in the phrase strain every nerve)
- a large vein in a leaf
- any of the veins of an insect's wing
- touch a nerve, touch a raw nerve, hit a nerve, hit a raw nerve, strike a nerve or strike a raw nerve to mention or bring to mind a sensitive issue or subject
- to give courage to (oneself); steel (oneself)
- to provide with nerve or nerves
Word Origin and History for get on one's nerves
c.1500, "to ornament with threads;" see nerve (n.). Meaning "to give strength or vigor" is from 1749. Related: Nerved; nerving.
late 14c., nerf "sinew, tendon," from Old French nerf and directly from Medieval Latin nervus "nerve," from Latin nervus "sinew, tendon; cord, bowstring," metathesis of pre-Latin *neuros, from PIE *(s)neu- "tendon, sinew" (cf. Sanskrit snavan- "band, sinew," Armenian neard "sinew," Greek neuron "sinew, tendon," in Galen "nerve"). Sense of "fibers that convey impulses between the brain and the body" is from c.1600.
Secondary senses developed from meaning "strength, vigor, energy" (c.1600), from the "sinew" sense. Hence figurative sense of "feeling, courage," first attested c.1600; that of "courage, boldness" is from 1809; bad sense "impudence, cheek" is from 1887. Latin nervus also had a figurative sense of "vigor, force, power, strength," as did Greek neuron. From the neurological sense come Nerves "condition of nervousness," attested from 1792; to get on someone's nerves, from 1895. War of nerves "psychological warfare" is from 1915.
- Any of the cordlike bundles of nervous tissue made up of myelinated or unmyelinated nerve fibers and held together by a connective tissue sheath through which sensory stimuli and motor impulses pass between the brain or other parts of the central nervous system and the eyes, glands, muscles, and other parts of the body.
- The sensitive tissue in the pulp of a tooth.
- nerves Nervous agitation caused by fear, anxiety, or stress.
- Any of the bundles of fibers made up of neurons that carry sensory and motor information throughout the body in the form of electrical impulses. Afferent nerves carry information to the central nervous system, and efferent nerves carry information from the central nervous system to the muscles, organs, and glands. Efferent nerves include the nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which control voluntary motor activity and of the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary motor activity.