• (GA) IPA: /nɝv/
  • (RP) IPA: /nɜːv/
  • (NYC) IPA: /nɜɪv/
  • (Scotland) IPA: /nɛɾv/

nerve (plural nerves)

  1. topics en A bundle of neurons with their connective tissue sheaths, blood vessels and lymphatics.
    The nerves can be seen through the skin.
  2. (nonstandard, colloquial) A neuron.
  3. (botany) A vein in a leaf; a grain in wood
    Some plants have ornamental value because of their contrasting nerves.
  4. Courage, boldness.
    He hasn't the nerve to tell her he likes her. What a wimp!
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Jack Wilshere scores twice to ease Arsenal to victory over Marseille (in The Guardian, 26 November 2013)
      A trip to the whistling, fire-cracking Stadio San Paolo is always a test of nerve but Wenger's men have already outplayed the Italians once.
  5. Patience.
  6. Stamina, endurance, fortitude.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, […]”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗, lines 639–640, pages 42–43 ↗:
      He led me on to mightiest deeds, / Above the nerve of mortal arm.
  7. Audacity, gall.
    He had the nerve to enter my house uninvited.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XVIII, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      “Oh?” she said. “So you have decided to revise my guest list for me? You have the nerve, the – the –” I saw she needed helping out. “Audacity,” I said, throwing her the line. “The audacity to dictate to me who I shall have in my house.” It should have been “whom”, but I let it go. “You have the –” “Crust.” “– the immortal rind,” she amended, and I had to admit it was stronger, “to tell me whom” – she got it right that time – “I may entertain at Brinkley Court and who” – wrong again – “I may not.”
  8. (polymer technology) The elastic resistance of raw rubber or other polymers to permanent deformation during processing.
    A nervy tank lining will be difficult to lay around tight bends or in corners because it tends to spring back.
    • 1959, Newell A Perry, Eric O Ridgway, US patent US2870103 A
      The nerviness (ability to recover quickly from strain or stretching) ... generally requires it to be broken down or masticated on the mill before the other compounding ingredients are added. In the break-down operation, heat is inherently generated by the sheer action of the milling or mixing equipment on the polymer. Therefore, it is difficult to maintain the desired low temperatures during the milling or mixing... An object of this invention is to reduce the inherent nerve of ... polymers ... during break-down.
  9. (in the plural) Agitation caused by fear, stress or other negative emotion.
    Ellie had a bad case of nerves before the big test.
  10. (obsolete) Sinew, tendon.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 2
      Come on; obey: / Thy nerves are in their infancy again, / And have no vigour in them.
    • 1725, Alexander Pope. Pope's Homer: Odyssey Book X
      Whilst thus their fury rages at the bay,
      My sword our cables cut, I call'd to weigh,
      And charg'd my men, as they from fate would fly,
      Each nerve to strain, each bending oar to ply.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations
  • German: Nerv
  • Russian: нерв
Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Nerv
  • Russian: вы́держка
Translations Translations Translations Verb

nerve (nerves, present participle nerving; past and past participle nerved)

  1. (transitive) To give courage.
    May their example nerve us to face the enemy.
  2. (transitive) To give strength.
    The liquor nerved up several of the men after their icy march.

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