or nerve-wrack·ing



extremely irritating, annoying, or trying: a nerve-racking day; a nerve-racking noise.

Origin of nerve-racking

First recorded in 1805–15 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nerve-wracking

Contemporary Examples of nerve-wracking

Historical Examples of nerve-wracking

  • "You're a nerve-wracking woman, Lyad," Belchik said unhappily.


    James H Schmitz

  • But Janet preferred not to listen to the wind; it was too mournful, too nerve-wracking.

    Janet Hardy in Hollywood

    Ruthe S. Wheeler

  • He'd taken on the lonely, nerve-wracking job of service station attendant just to see what it offered.

    Acid Bath

    Vaseleos Garson

  • It was a night of agony by thirst, of nerve-wracking bomb explosions, and of bayonet jabs in the dark.

  • To Greg Hunter the siege of the orbit-ship had been a nerve-wracking game of listening and waiting for something to happen.

    Gold in the Sky

    Alan Edward Nourse

British Dictionary definitions for nerve-wracking




very distressing, exhausting, or harrowing
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

Word Origin and History for nerve-wracking

also nervewracking, 1867, from nerve + present participle of wrack (v.).



also nerveracking, 1812, from nerve + present participle of verbal sense of rack (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper