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2017 Word of the Year

nervous

[nur-vuh s] /ˈnɜr vəs/
adjective
1.
highly excitable; unnaturally or acutely uneasy or apprehensive:
to become nervous under stress.
2.
of or relating to the nerves:
nervous tension.
3.
affecting the nerves:
nervous diseases.
4.
suffering from, characterized by, or originating in disordered nerves.
5.
characterized by or attended with acute uneasiness or apprehension:
a nervous moment for us all.
6.
having or containing nerves.
7.
sinewy or strong.
8.
Archaic. vigorous or spirited.
Origin of nervous
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin nervōsus sinewy, equivalent to nerv(us) nerve + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
nervously, adverb
nervousness, noun
nonnervous, adjective
nonnervously, adverb
nonnervousness, noun
overnervous, adjective
overnervously, adverb
overnervousness, noun
seminervous, adjective
seminervously, adverb
seminervousness, noun
unnervous, adjective
unnervously, adverb
unnervousness, noun
Synonyms
1. fearful, timid, timorous.
Antonyms
1. confident, bold.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for nervous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Hipparete blushed, and with a quick and nervous motion touched her cithara.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • It made her interlace her fingers with nervous anxiety, but it set a fire in her eyes.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Don't let them see you get nervous when they turn out of the coaches.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • And the sight of his white face and his nervous right hand was too much for them.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • The girl's answer was uttered with nervous eagerness which revealed her own stress of fear.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for nervous

nervous

/ˈnɜːvəs/
adjective
1.
very excitable or sensitive; highly strung
2.
(often foll by of) apprehensive or worried: I'm nervous of traffic
3.
of, relating to, or containing nerves; neural: nervous tissue
4.
affecting the nerves or nervous tissue: a nervous disease
5.
(archaic) active, vigorous, or forceful
Derived Forms
nervously, adverb
nervousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nervous
adj.

c.1400, "affecting the sinews," from Latin nervosus "sinewy, vigorous," from nervus "sinew, nerve" (see nerve). Meaning "of or belonging to the nerves" in the modern sense is from 1660s. Meaning "suffering disorder of the nervous system" is from 1734; illogical sense "restless, agitated, lacking nerve" is 1740. Widespread popular use as a euphemism for mental forced the medical community to coin neurological to replace it in the older sense. Nervous wreck first attested 1862. Related: Nervously; nervousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nervous in Medicine

nervous nerv·ous (nûr'vəs)
adj.

  1. Of or relating to the nerves or nervous system.

  2. Stemming from or affecting the nerves or nervous system, as a disease.

  3. Easily agitated or distressed.


nerv'ous·ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for nervous

nervous

adjective

  1. cool, far out
  2. jazzy (1950s+ Beat & cool talk)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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