a. Of or relating to the nerves or nervous system: nervous tissue.
b. Stemming from or affecting the nerves or nervous system: a nervous disorder.
2. Easily agitated or distressed; high-strung or jumpy.
3. Marked by or having a feeling of unease or apprehension: nervous moments before takeoff.
4. Vigorous in style or feeling; spirited: "the nervous thrust of a modern creation" (Henry A. Kissinger).
5. Archaic Strong; sinewy.
[Middle English, sinewy, containing nerves, from Latin nervōsus, sinewy, from nervus, sinew; see NERVE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.