Thomas Arthur Schaefer
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Friday, September 22, 2006

NERVES

nerve |nərv| noun 1 (in the body) a whitish fiber or bundle of fibers that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs : the optic nerve. 2 ( nerves) a person's mental state, in particular the extent to which they are agitated or worried : an amazing journey that tested her nerves to the full. • nervousness or anxiety : his first-night nerves soon disappeared. 3 (often one's nerve) a person's steadiness, courage, and sense of purpose when facing a demanding situation : the army's commanders were beginning to lose their nerve | I got up the nerve to ask Miss Kinnian to have dinner with me. See note at courage . • informal impudence or audacity : he had the nerve to insult my cooking | she's got nerve wearing that short skirt with those legs. 4 Botany a prominent unbranched rib in a leaf, esp. in the midrib of the leaf of a moss. verb ( nerve oneself) brace oneself mentally to face a demanding situation : she nerved herself to enter the room. PHRASES a bundle of nerves informal someone who is extremely timid or tense. get on someone's nerves informal irritate or annoy someone. have nerves of steel not be easily upset or frightened. strain every nerve make every possible effort. [ORIGIN: from the earlier sense of nerve as [tendon, sinew.] ] touch (or hit or strike) a nerve (or a raw nerve) provoke a reaction by referring to a sensitive topic : there are signs that some comments strike a raw nerve. war of nerves a struggle in which opponents try to wear each other down by psychological means. DERIVATIVES nerved adjective [usu. in combination ] : she was still raw-nerved from reliving the past. ORIGIN late Middle English (also in the sense [tendon, sinew] ): from Latin nervus; related to Greek neuron ‘nerve’ (see neuron ).

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