1 worried or frightened about something that may happen so that you cannot relax
(+ about): I was so nervous about my exams that I couldn't sleep (+ of): Jill's always been a little nervous of dogs.
2 often becoming worried or frightened and easily upset: She's a nervous, sensitive child. | nervous wreck (=someone whose health and confidence have been destroyed by worry, fear etc): This job is turning me into a nervous wreck. | of a nervous disposition: This film is unsuitable for people of a nervous disposition.
3 nervous exhaustion/strain etc a mental condition in which you feel very tired, usually caused by working too hard or by difficult emotional problems
4 related to the nerves in your body: a nervous disorder
— nervously adverb: She smiled nervously. — nervousness noun (U): Minelli's nervousness showed in his voice. USAGE NOTE: NERVOUS WORD CHOICE: nervous, uneasy, concerned, anxious, worried You are nervous about something difficult or strange that you are doing, or when you are worried and a little frightened about something that might happen or is going to happen, so that you cannot relax: Don't drive so fast - you're making me nervous! | She gets nervous about walking home alone late at night. You are uneasy when you are unable to relax because you think but do not know for certain that something bad is happening or is going to happen: When Jody didn't call for the next three days I started to get uneasy. You are concerned when there is a problem or when someone has a problem that you wish you could do something about: I'm rather concerned about Harvey's health. Worried is stronger. If you are worried you are unhappy and cannot stop thinking about a problem or about something bad that might happen: Martha's very worried about her son's disappearance. Anxious is stronger still. You are anxious when you are very worried and frightened about something that is happening or might happen: the little girl's anxious face as she searched the crowds for her mother

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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