verb (used with object), un·nerved, un·nerv·ing.

to deprive of courage, strength, determination, or confidence; upset: Fear unnerved him.

Origin of unnerve

First recorded in 1595–1605; un-2 + nerve
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unnerved

Contemporary Examples of unnerved

Historical Examples of unnerved

  • 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



(tr) 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

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