Date: 1300-1400
Language: Latin
Origin: nervus


1 noun
nerve1 S3 W3

worried feelings


a) used to talk about someone being worried or frightened
somebody's nerves are on edge/in tatters/frayed (=someone feels very worried or frightened)
calm/steady your nerves (=stop yourself feeling worried or frightened)
Sean drank a large glass of brandy to calm his nerves.
be a bundle/bag of nerves (=be extremely worried or frightened)
I remember you were a bundle of nerves on your wedding day.
b) the feeling of being worried or a little frightened:
A lot of people suffer from nerves before they go on stage.
'What's wrong with Rachel?' 'It's just nerves. She's got her driving test tomorrow.'

body part

[countable]HBMP nerves are parts inside your body which look like threads and carry messages between the brain and other parts of the body:
a condition which affects the nerves in the back
trapped nerve British English /pinched nerve American English (=a nerve that has been crushed between two muscles etc, causing pain)


[uncountable] courage and confidence in a dangerous, difficult, or frightening situation
the nerve to do something
Not many people have the nerve to stand up and speak in front of a large audience.
She finally found the nerve to tell him she wanted a divorce.
It takes a lot of nerve to report a colleague for sexual harassment.
lose your nerve (=suddenly become very nervous so that you cannot do what you intended to do)
Jensen would've won if he hadn't lost his nerve.
hold/keep your nerve (=remain calm in a difficult situation)
It's hard to keep your nerve when people keep interrupting you.

get on somebody's nerves

informal if someone gets on your nerves, they annoy you, especially by doing something all the time:
She's always moaning. It really gets on my nerves.

lack of respect

[singular] spoken if you say someone has a nerve, you mean that they have done something unsuitable or impolite, without seeming to be embarrassed about behaving in this way [= cheek]:
He's got a nerve asking for more money.
'She didn't say sorry or anything.' ' What a nerve!'
have the nerve to do something
She lets me do all the work, and then she has the nerve to criticize my cooking.

touch/hit a (raw) nerve

to mention something that makes someone upset, angry, or embarrassed, especially accidentally:
Without realizing, he had touched a raw nerve.

nerves of steel

the ability to be brave and calm in a dangerous or difficult situation:
The job requires nerves of steel.

➔ strain every nerve

at strain2 (6)

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