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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 unnerving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was bracing in every nerve against the unnerving of his presence.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • Any known danger he could face with a firm lip, but this suspense was unnerving.

    A Study In Scarlet Arthur Conan Doyle
  • She was conscious chiefly of an unnerving horror and a sense of contrition.

    The Long Portage Harold Bindloss
  • For the man had obviously been through an unnerving experience.

    A Lost Cause Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • But she was overcome by an unnerving sense of insignificance.

    Mrs. Maxon Protests Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for unnerving


(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 unnerving



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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