Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Latin
Origin: nervus

nerve

1 noun
     
nerve1 S3 W3
1

worried feelings

nerves

[plural]
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.'
2

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)
3

courage

[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.
4

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.
5

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.
6

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.
7

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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