Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

nervous - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective nervous pronunciation in British English /ˈnɜː(r)vəs/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    feeling excited and worried, or slightly afraid

    Driving on mountain roads always makes me nervous.

    get nervous:

    I got very nervous waiting for my turn to be called.

    nervous about:

    She was nervous about walking home so late.

    nervous of:

    He’s always been a little nervous of change.

    1. a.
      showing that someone is feeling nervous

      Callum gave a slightly nervous laugh.

  2. 2
    a nervous person becomes easily excited and reacts quickly to things in a way that shows they are not relaxed

    a nervous, fidgety young man

  3. 3
    relating to the system of nerves in your body

    a nervous complaint

  4. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    nervous for the same as nervous about

    I'm so nervous for Thursday's exam!

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 12/05/2015

derived words


noun [uncountable]

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play