from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of the cordlike bundles of fibers made up of neurons through which sensory stimuli and motor impulses pass between the brain or other parts of the central nervous system and the eyes, glands, muscles, and other parts of the body. Nerves form a network of pathways for conducting information throughout the body.
  • noun The sensitive tissue in the pulp of a tooth.
  • noun A sore point or sensitive subject.
  • noun Courage and control under pressure.
  • noun Fortitude; stamina.
  • noun Forceful quality; boldness.
  • noun Brazen boldness; effrontery.
  • noun Nervous agitation caused by fear, anxiety, or stress.
  • noun A vein or rib in the wing of an insect.
  • noun The midrib and larger veins in a leaf.
  • transitive verb To give strength or courage to.
  • idiom (get on (someone's) nerves) To irritate or exasperate.
  • idiom (strain every nerve) To make every effort.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To give nerve to; supply strength or vigor to; arm with force, physical or moral: as, rage nerved his arm.
  • noun A sinew, tendon, or other hard white cord of the body: the original meaning of the word, at the time when nervous tissue was not distinguished from some forms of connective tissue. See aponeurosis.
  • noun In anatomy, a nerve-fiber, or usually a bundle of nerve-fibers, running from a central ganglionic organ to peripheral mechanisms, either active (as glands and muscles) or receptive (sense-organs).
  • noun Something resembling a nerve (either a sinew, as in the earlier figurative uses, or a nerve in the present sense, 2) in form or function.
  • noun Strength of sinew; bodily strength; firmness or vigor of body; muscular power; brawn.
  • noun Force; energy; spirit; dash.
  • noun Assurance: boldness; cheek.
  • noun plural Hysterical nervousness. See nervousness .
  • noun In entomology, a nervure; a vein; a costa; one of the tubular ridges or thickenings which ramify in the wings. See nervure, 3.
  • noun In botany, one of a system of ribs or principal veins in a leaf. See nervation.
  • noun In architecture, same as nervure, 1.
  • noun A technical name applied to the non-porous quality acquired by cork when, in its preparation for use in the arts, its surface is slightly charred by heat, and its pores are thus closed.
  • noun Branches of the pneumogastric to the cardiac plexus, variable in number. Those arising in the neck are called cervical cardiac; in the thorax, thoracic.
  • noun Anterior dental nerve, a branch of the superior maxillary supplying tile upper front teeth and contiguous part of the antrum. Also called superior anterior alveolar
  • noun Inferior dental nerve, the largest branch of the inferior maxillary, running through the inferior dental canal and supplying the teeth of the lower jaw. It, gives off the mylohyoid and mental branches. Also called inferior alveolar
  • noun Posterior dental nerve, a branch of the superior maxillary distributed to the mucous membrane of the cheek and gum and the back teeth of the upper jaw. Also called posterior superior alveolar.
  • noun The glossopharyngeal, vagus, and spinal accessory nerves.
  • noun Of the foot, slender branches of the anterior tibial to the metatarso-phalangeal articulations
  • noun Posterior, the larger terminal division of the musculospiral. It supplies the short supinator and all the extensor muscles on the back of the arm, except, the long radiocarpal.
  • noun The pars intermedia of the facial nerve.
  • noun The hypoglossal nerve.
  • noun The facial and auditory nerves.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To give strength or vigor to; to supply with force.
  • noun (Anat.) One of the whitish and elastic bundles of fibers, with the accompanying tissues, which transmit nervous impulses between nerve centers and various parts of the animal body.
  • noun A sinew or a tendon.
  • noun Physical force or steadiness; muscular power and control; constitutional vigor.
  • noun Steadiness and firmness of mind; self-command in personal danger, or under suffering; unshaken courage and endurance; coolness; pluck; resolution.
  • noun Slang Audacity; assurance.
  • noun (Bot.) One of the principal fibrovascular bundles or ribs of a leaf, especially when these extend straight from the base or the midrib of the leaf.
  • noun (Zoöl.) One of the nervures, or veins, in the wings of insects.
  • noun (Anat.) a neuron, one of the nucleated cells with which nerve fibers are connected; a ganglion cell is one type of nerve cell.
  • noun (Anat.) one of the fibers of which nerves are made up. These fibers are either medullated or nonmedullated. In both kinds the essential part is the translucent threadlike axis cylinder which is continuous the whole length of the fiber.
  • noun (Med.) the operation of stretching a nerve in order to remedy diseases such as tetanus, which are supposed to be influenced by the condition of the nerve or its connections.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun zoology A bundle of neurons with their connective tissue sheaths, blood vessels and lymphatics.
  • noun nonstandard, colloquial A neuron.
  • noun botany A vein in a leaf; a grain in wood


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, sinew, nerve, from Old French nerf, from Medieval Latin nervus, from Latin; see (s)neəu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since circa 1374, from Medieval Latin nervus ("nerve"), from Latin nervus ("sinew").


  • The sensitive retina, spreading out, as it does, to form the back of the eyeball, is the nerve-coat of the eye; and from its centre a thick round bundle of nerve fibres, known as the _optic nerve_, runs back to the brain.

    A Handbook of Health

  • How does the nerve of the eye (the _optic nerve_) get its messages?

    The Child's Day

  • Here can be found a little patch of mucous membrane of a deep yellowish color, which is very sensitive to smells, and from which a number of tiny little nerve twigs run up to form the nerve of smell (_olfactory nerve_), which goes directly to the brain.

    A Handbook of Health

  • I did that and as a consequence of that, tomorrow morning I'm going to have surgery from a superb pioneering surgeon, Dr. Patrick Walsh, who has broken through with respect to what they call nerve sparing surgery and surgery which reduces bleeding and maximizes the long-term curable possibilities.

    CNN Transcript Feb 11, 2003

  • Every thought, every act, every effort of the will, every motion of a muscle, uses up a certain amount of what we call nerve force, which is really a form of prana.

    The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath

  • Mrs. Lander had taken twice of a specific for what she called her nerve - fag before her husband came with Clementina, and had rehearsed aloud many of the things she meant to say to the girl.

    Ragged Lady — Complete

  • Mrs. Lander had taken twice of a specific for what she called her nerve-fag before her husband came with Clementina, and had rehearsed aloud many of the things she meant to say to the girl.

    Ragged Lady — Volume 1

  • Bragg said York sustained what he called nerve damage over the years and retired six months early.

  • Bragg said York sustained what he called nerve damage over the years and retired six months early.

  • Manchester United will hold their title nerve, insists Sir Alex Ferguson - Home


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