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nerve - definition and synonyms

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noun     nerve pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] one of the groups of fibres in your body that carry messages between your brain and the rest of your body, communicating pain, pressure, feelings of heat and cold etc

    A pinched nerve is causing her a lot of pain.

  2. 2


    [plural] a worried feeling that makes you afraid that you will not be able to do something well

    There’s nothing really wrong with her, it’s just nerves.

    a case of nerves (=an occasion when you feel very worried):

    A case of nerves won’t stop me from performing tonight.

    calm someone’s nerves:

    He asked for a drink to calm his nerves before heading out to the plane.

  3. 3
    [uncountable] the ability to control your fear and remain determined when you are doing something difficult or dangerous
    a lot of nerve:

    It took a lot of nerve for him to ask her out.

    the nerve to do something:

    After months of agonizing, she finally found the nerve to tell him he was wrong.

    lose your nerve (=no longer be able to control your fear):

    Suddenly I lost my nerve and I couldn’t move.

  4. 4
    [uncountable] a rude attitude, usually shown by behaviour that makes other people angry
    a lot of nerve/some nerve:

    You’ve got a lot of nerve, calling me at this time of night.

    have the nerve to do something:

    She had the nerve to call me a liar after everything I’ve done for her.

    the nerve of someone (=used for showing anger or surprise at someone’s rude behaviour):

    The nerve of him, asking me for money!

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