Definition of nervous adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈnɜːvəs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈnɜːrvəs//
    Nervous, Fear
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  1. 1  anxious about something or afraid of something nervous (about/of something) Consumers are very nervous about the future. The horse may be nervous of cars. nervous (about/of doing something) He had been nervous about inviting us. I felt really nervous before the interview. a nervous glance/smile/voice (= one that shows that you feel anxious) By the time the police arrived, I was a nervous wreck. opposite confident Synonymsworriedconcerned nervous anxious uneasyThese words all describe feeling unhappy and afraid because you are thinking about unpleasant things that might happen or might have happened.worried thinking about unpleasant things that might happen or might have happened and therefore feeling unhappy and afraidconcerned worried and feeling concern about somethingworried or concerned?Concerned is usually used when you are talking about a problem that affects another person, society, the world, etc, while worried can be used for this or for more personal matters.nervous feeling worried about something or slightly afraid of somethinganxious feeling worried or nervous about somethingworried, nervous or anxious?Worried is the most frequent word to describe how you feel when you are thinking about a problem or something bad that might happen. Anxious can describe a stronger feeling and is more formal. Nervous is more often used to describe how you feel before you do something very important such as an exam or an interview, or something unpleasant or difficult. Nervous can describe somebody’s personality: a very nervous girl is often or usually nervous; a worried girl is worried on a particular occasion or about a particular thing. Worried describes her feelings, not her personality. Anxious may describe feelings or personality.uneasy feeling worried or unhappy about a particular situation, especially because you think something bad may happen or because you are not sure that what you are doing is rightPatterns worried/​concerned/​nervous/​anxious/​uneasy about (doing) something worried/​concerned/​anxious for somebody/​something worried/​concerned/​nervous/​anxious that… a(n) worried/​concerned/​nervous/​anxious/​uneasy expression/​look/​smile to get worried/​nervous/​anxious See related entries: Nervous, Fear
  2. 2  easily worried or frightened She was a thin, nervous girl. He's not the nervous type. She was of a nervous disposition. Synonymsnervousneurotic on edge jitteryThese words all describe people who are easily frightened or are behaving in a frightened way.nervous easily worried or frightened:She was of a nervous disposition. See also the entry for worried.neurotic not behaving in a reasonable, calm way, because you are worried about something:She became neurotic about keeping the house clean.on edge nervous or bad-tempered:She was always on edge before an interview.jittery (informal) anxious and nervous:All this talk of job losses was making him jittery.Patterns a nervous/​neurotic man/​woman/​girl to feel nervous/​on edge/​jittery a bit nervous/​on edge/​jittery See related entries: Nervous
  3. 3  connected with the body’s nerves and often affecting you mentally or emotionally a nervous condition/disorder/disease She was in a state of nervous exhaustion.
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (in the senses ‘containing nerves’ and ‘relating to the nerves’): from Latin nervosus ‘sinewy, vigorous’, from nervus ‘sinew’; related to Greek neuron ‘nerve’. Senses (1) and (2) date from the mid 18th cent.Extra examples He had worked himself up into a highly nervous state. I was slightly nervous of him. Sit down—you’re making me nervous! nervous about the wedding nervous at what might happen By the time the police arrived, I was a nervous wreck. He’s not the nervous type. She was of a nervous disposition.Idioms
    be frightened/nervous/scared of your own shadow
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    to be very easily frightened; to be very nervous See related entries: Fear
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: nervous