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nervy

[nur-vee]
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adjective, nerv·i·er, nerv·i·est.
  1. brashly presumptuous or insolent; pushy: a nervy thing to say; a nervy trick to pull.
  2. having or showing courage; brave or bold: the nervy feats of the mountaineers.
  3. strong; sinewy; vigorous: a hard, nervy physique.
  4. Chiefly British. straining one's patience or forbearance; trying.
  5. nervous; excitable; on edge.
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Origin of nervy

First recorded in 1600–10; nerve + -y1
Related formsnerv·i·ly, adverbnerv·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nervy

Historical Examples

  • "I'm nervy, that's what it is," he went on, still speaking aloud.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I know ye're nervy, but thar ain't no good in bein' foolish.

  • She asked questions that might have been considered impertinent, not to say nervy.

    Gigolo

    Edna Ferber

  • And you know he's some nervy sport, Mr. Robert—all except when it's a matter of skirts.

  • “A fellow has to be without nerve and yet 169 nervy,” explained Larry.

    Penny of Top Hill Trail

    Belle Kanaris Maniates


British Dictionary definitions for nervy

nervy

adjective nervier or nerviest
  1. British informal tense or apprehensive
  2. having or needing bravery or endurance
  3. US and Canadian informal brash or cheeky
  4. archaic muscular; sinewy
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Derived Formsnervily, adverbnerviness, 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

Word Origin and History for nervy

adj.

"full of courage," 1870, from nerve + -y (2). Sense of "excitable" is from 1891.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper