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[uhn-nurv] /ʌnˈnɜrv/
verb (used with object), unnerved, unnerving.
to deprive of courage, strength, determination, or confidence; upset:
Fear unnerved him.
Origin of unnerve
First recorded in 1595-1605; un-2 + nerve Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unnerved
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The truth was, he admitted ruefully to himself, they unnerved him.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • She has had a very trying and terrible experience and I do not wonder that she is unnerved.

    The Ivory Snuff Box Arnold Fredericks
  • He did not look in the least unnerved by the terrible ordeal.

  • "It was that madman rushing in unnerved her," Copplestone cried fiercely.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming
  • But the glassy stare of the motionless figure had unnerved her.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming
British Dictionary definitions for unnerved


(transitive) to cause to lose courage, strength, confidence, self-control, etc
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 unnerved



1620s, "to destroy the strength of," from un- (2) + nerve. Meaning "to deprive of courage" is recorded from 1704. Related: Unnerved; unnerving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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