From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishnervousner‧vous /ˈnɜːvəs $ ˈnɜːr-/ ●●● S3 W3 adjective 1 NERVOUSworried or frightened about something, and unable to relax → anxiousnervous about something She was so nervous about her exams that she couldn’t sleep. I wish you’d stop looking at me like that. You’re making me nervous.feel/get nervous Paul always gets nervous whenever he has to give a presentation.nervous smile/laugh/look/glance ‘Don’t be silly, ’ she said with a nervous laugh. ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts.’ By the time I got into the interview I was a nervous wreck (=was extremely nervous).nervous of somebody We were all a bit nervous of him at first (=frightened of him).► see thesaurus at worried2 NERVOUSoften becoming worried or frightened, and easily upset She’s a nervous, sensitive child. The film is unsuitable for people of a nervous disposition (=who are easily frightened).3 HBMP[only before noun] relating to the nerves in your bodynervous condition/illness/disorder She was suffering from a nervous condition. He had a nervous twitch (=his body made small uncontrolled movements).4 → nervous exhaustion/strain —nervously adverb She smiled nervously. —nervousness noun [uncountable] Mike’s nervousness showed in his voice.COLLOCATIONSverbsfeel nervousHe looked at her for so long that she began to feel nervous.get/become nervousEveryone gets nervous before a big game.seem/appear nervousShe seemed nervous at first, but her presentation was good.look/sound nervousHe sounded nervous and uncertain.make somebody nervousBeing alone in the house made her nervous.adverbsslightly nervousLooking slightly nervous, Paul began to speak.a little/a bit nervousI was a little nervous before the interview.extremely nervousThe policeman noticed that the driver seemed extremely nervous.nounsa nervous smile/laugh/giggle‘It doesn’t matter, ’ she said, with a nervous smile.nervous laughterHis comment was met with nervous laughter.a nervous look/glanceLucy swallowed as she sent him a nervous glance.nervous tension (=a feeling of being very tense and nervous)It was the play’s opening night, and Gloria was in a state of nervous tension.phrasesbe a nervous wreck (=be so nervous or worried that you cannot deal with a situation)By the end of the rehearsal I was a nervous wreck.THESAURUSnervous worried or a little frightened about something and unable to relaxKelly was so nervous about her exam that she couldn’t sleep.It makes me nervous when you drive that fast.tense worried and unable to relax in a way that makes you get angry or upset easilyMary’s problems at work were making her tense and irritable.uneasy nervous because you feel that something bad might happen, so that you are unable to relax until the danger has passedI began to feel uneasy when he still hadn’t phoned by 11 o'clock.on edge if you are on edge or your nerves are on edge, you feel nervous because you are worried about what might happenMy nerves were on edge, waiting for the results of the test.Redundancies and other work upheavals have put employees on edge.neurotic nervous and anxious in a way that is not normal or reasonableShe’s completely neurotic about food hygiene.a neurotic motheredgy/jumpy/jittery nervous because you are worried about what might happenInvestors are a little edgy about the financial markets these days.There was a lot of pressure on the team tonight and that’s why they were a little jumpy.highly-strung British English, high-strung American English becoming nervous or upset easily because that is your characterLike many musicians, he’s very sensitive and highly-strung.be a nervous wreck to feel extremely nervous and unable to relaxAfter 10 months of teaching, I was a total nervous wreck.have butterflies (in your stomach) informal to feel nervous about something that you are going to do very soon because it is important and you want to do it wellActors often have butterflies before going on stage.
Examples from the Corpusnervous• Stop tapping your feet! You're making me nervous.• The sounds outside were making me feel nervous.• The stage is huge, you know, and I walked out there, and I was real nervous.• We were always concerned, but never nervous.• Kelli was so nervous about her exam that she couldn't sleep.• I'm a little nervous about leaving the kids at home all alone.• I was so nervous about my exams that I couldn't sleep.• Many investors are nervous about their investments after the recent drop in the stock market.• Harry began to feel nervous again as the plane made its descent.• Bill looked nervous, and I could see his hands were shaking.• Skinheads, on the other hand, are nervous and twitchy.• I'm always nervous before exams.• She's such a nervous child we don't like to leave her on her own.• a nervous disorder• People of a nervous disposition may be upset by some of the scenes in the following programme.• Mum gets nervous if we don't call to say we're late.• Mr Darby was a mild, nervous man who seemed to expect people to ignore him.• Jill's always been a little nervous of dogs.• As soon as you make a nervous slip, he explodes with anger - humiliating you in front of colleagues.• Sanders reassured nervous students that loans would be available this fall.• The basis of these unities does not seem to lie within the nervous system as it is currently conceived.• It became possible to test theories about nervous system functions.• Doctors say the drug causes body temperatures to rise so high that the central nervous system shuts down.• You know what makes me nervous? When people drive really close behind you.• It makes me nervous when you drive that fast.• a thin, nervous womannervous about something• I didn't know him and was really nervous about having to work with him.of a nervous disposition• She was of a nervous disposition, Miss Kilspindie.nervous condition/illness/disorder• Actual bodily harm need not be serious harm and it has been held to include a hysterical and nervous condition.• Many of their colleagues are off work sick for long periods being treated for nervous disorders.• There are wards for children with pulmonary disease and nervous disorders.• Let us therefore assume that nervous disorders act as an intervening variable.• In the first, nervous disorders are just an additional cause of absenteeism, but are unrelated to the type of job.• Voice over Multiple Sclerosis is a nervous condition brought about by the destruction of blood vessels in the brain.• In the second, nervous disorders have no effect on absenteeism, despite the fact that they are caused by poor jobs.• She decides to seek medical help for bulimia, the nervous illness that has been dogging her marriage almost from the start.