From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishnervenerve1 /nɜːv $ nɜːrv/ ●●○ S3 W3 noun 1 → nerves2 body part [countable]HBMP nerves are parts inside your body which look like threads and carry messages between the brain and other parts of the body a condition which affects the nerves in the backtrapped nerve British English, pinched nerve American English (=a nerve that has been crushed between two muscles etc, causing pain)3 courage [uncountable]BRAVE courage and confidence in a dangerous, difficult, or frightening situationthe nerve to do something Not many people have the nerve to stand up and speak in front of a large audience. She finally found the nerve to tell him she wanted a divorce. It takes a lot of nerve to report a colleague for sexual harassment.lose your nerve (=suddenly become very nervous so that you cannot do what you intended to do) Jensen would’ve won if he hadn’t lost his nerve.hold/keep your nerve (=remain calm in a difficult situation) It’s hard to keep your nerve when people keep interrupting you.4 → get on somebody’s nerves5 lack of respect [singular] spoken if you say someone has a nerve, you mean that they have done something unsuitable or impolite, without seeming to be embarrassed about behaving in this way SYN cheek He’s got a nerve asking for more money. ‘She didn’t say sorry or anything.’ ‘What a nerve!’have the nerve to do something She lets me do all the work, and then she has the nerve to criticize my cooking.6 → touch/hit a (raw) nerve7 → nerves of steel → strain every nerve at strain2(6)COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 1: verbscalm/steady somebody's nerves (=make someone feel less worried or nervous)She took a few deep breaths, trying to calm her nerves.settle/soothe somebody's nerves (=make someone feel less worried or nervous)She hoped that a cup of tea would soothe her nerves.suffer from nerves (=often feel worried or nervous)He suffered from nerves and could no longer perform on stage.your nerves jangle (=you feel extremely nervous or worried)Suddenly she was wide awake, her nerves jangling.NOUN + nerves exam nervesQuite a few of the students suffered from exam nerves.first-night nerves (=before the first night of a performance)She always suffered from first-night nerves.phrasessomebody's nerves are on edge (=they feel nervous or worried about what might happen)His nerves were on edge as he entered the dark room.somebody's nerves are tattered/frayed/shattered (=they feel very nervous or worried)Everyone's nerves were frayed by the end of the week.somebody's nerves are stretched (to breaking point) (=they feel very nervous or worried)Her nerves were stretched almost to breaking point as she waited.be a bag/bundle of nerves (=to feel extremely nervous or worried)I was a bag of nerves during the interview.be shaking with nerves (=to be extremely nervous)Just before the audition he was shaking with nerves.be in a state of nerves (=to be in a nervous condition)She was in such a state of nerves that she jumped at every noise.an attack of nerves (=a time when you feel very nervous)Harrison had an attack of nerves before the match. COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 3: courage and confidence in a dangerous, difficult, or frightening situationverbshave the nerve to do somethingI just didn't have the nerve to tell them the truth.find the nerve to do somethingHe couldn't find the nerve to ask her out.hold/keep your nerve (=remain calm and confident in a difficult situation)The team held their nerve and went on to win.lose your nerve (=suddenly lose the courage or confidence to do something)I wanted to ask him the question, but I lost my nerve.test somebody's nerve (=test whether someone will have the courage to do something difficult)The next few days would test their nerve to the limit.somebody's nerve fails (him/her) (=someone suddenly loses the courage or confidence to do something)At the last moment, her nerve failed her.somebody's nerve breaks (=someone loses the courage to do something or continue something)The police hoped his nerve would break and he'd give himself away.phrasesit takes nerve to do something (=something requires a lot of courage or confidence)It takes nerve to stand up for what you believe.a failure/loss of nerve (=a situation in which someone lacks the courage to do something)They accused the government of a loss of nerve.
Examples from the Corpusnerve• I injured a nerve in my foot playing volleyball.• All nerve fibres and terminals present seemed normal in number and morphology.• Hypothyroidism may affect equilibrium by its effect on the eighth cranial nerve and on the peripheral nerves.• You got a lot of nerve.• It takes a lot of nerve to report a colleague for sexual harassment.• In a scary situation like that you need someone with plenty of nerve.• This is not only simplistic but it is even ignorant of pain-provoking peripheral nerve fibres now known to exist in man.• After a three day siege the kidnapper's nerve failed and he gave himself up to the police.• Chiropractic Practitioners deal with the structural relationships between the nerve tissues and the spinal column.• The Sporting News recently had the nerve to name Woods the most powerful man in all of sports.• But too much plaid gets on the nerves.• Finally I got up the nerve to check him into the state treatment center up north.trapped nerve• The strong-running Kiwi has been out for around five weeks after a trapped nerve in his back.• But I've now got a trapped nerve in my neck.• The plaintiff suffered a trapped nerve after a hernia operation.• She consulted the defendant specialist who performed an operation to free the trapped nerve.the nerve to do something• Besides, Meriwether was probably the only trader with both the cash and the nerve to play.• Only one investor found the nerve to find fault with what the vast majority considered to be an excellent performance in 1991.• All that property he own and had the nerve to get mad when I bought this.• Back in 1988 he had the nerve to raise interest rates on the eve of the Republican convention.• Now he had the nerve to go back on his word.• This party had the nerve to announce his shameful embarrassments to all the world!• The Sporting News recently had the nerve to name Woods the most powerful man in all of sports.• Yet, even knowing this, it was a strain on the nerves to watch that giant globe ballooning minute by minute.got a nerve• The hon. Gentleman has got a nerve.• He's got a nerve to make such comments, Lucy told herself crossly.• She's got a nerve, banging on at me about not caring.nervenerve2 verb → nerve yourself to do something/for something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusnerve• All the way home, pedalling furiously, she had been nerving herself for this confrontation.• Ruth clenched her hands inside her cloak, nerving herself to follow him; but it was Fand who didn't move.Origin nerve1 (1300-1400) Latin nervus