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

  • n. 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.
  • n. The sensitive tissue in the pulp of a tooth.
  • n. A sore point or sensitive subject: The criticism touched a nerve.
  • n. Courage and control under pressure: lost his nerve at the last minute.
  • n. Fortitude; stamina.
  • n. Forceful quality; boldness.
  • n. Brazen boldness; effrontery: had the nerve to deny it.
  • n. Nervous agitation caused by fear, anxiety, or stress: an attack of nerves.
  • n. A vein or rib in the wing of an insect.
  • n. The midrib and larger veins in a leaf.
  • transitive v. 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bundle of neurons with their connective tissue sheaths, blood vessels and lymphatics.
  • n. A neuron.
  • n. A vein in a leaf; a grain in wood
  • n. Courage, boldness.
  • n. Patience. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  • n. Stamina, endurance, fortitude. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  • n. Audacity, gall.
  • n. Agitation caused by fear, stress or other negative emotion.
  • n. Sinew, tendon.
  • v. To give courage; sometimes with "up".
  • v. To give strength

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. A sinew or a tendon.
  • n. Physical force or steadiness; muscular power and control; constitutional vigor.
  • n. Steadiness and firmness of mind; self-command in personal danger, or under suffering; unshaken courage and endurance; coolness; pluck; resolution.
  • n. Audacity; assurance.
  • n. 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.
  • n. One of the nervures, or veins, in the wings of insects.
  • transitive v. To give strength or vigor to; to supply with force.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give nerve to; supply strength or vigor to; arm with force, physical or moral: as, rage nerved his arm.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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).
  • n. 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.
  • n. Strength of sinew; bodily strength; firmness or vigor of body; muscular power; brawn.
  • n. Force; energy; spirit; dash.
  • n. Assurance: boldness; cheek.
  • n. plural Hysterical nervousness. See nervousness .
  • n. In entomology, a nervure; a vein; a costa; one of the tubular ridges or thickenings which ramify in the wings. See nervure, 3.
  • n. In botany, one of a system of ribs or principal veins in a leaf. See nervation.
  • n. In architecture, same as nervure, 1.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Branches of the pneumogastric to the cardiac plexus, variable in number. Those arising in the neck are called cervical cardiac; in the thorax, thoracic.
  • n. 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
  • n. 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
  • n. 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.
  • n. The glossopharyngeal, vagus, and spinal accessory nerves.
  • n. Of the foot, slender branches of the anterior tibial to the metatarso-phalangeal articulations
  • n. 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.
  • n. The pars intermedia of the facial nerve.
  • n. The hypoglossal nerve.
  • n. The facial and auditory nerves.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. impudent aggressiveness
  • n. the courage to carry on
  • n. any bundle of nerve fibers running to various organs and tissues of the body
  • v. get ready for something difficult or unpleasant


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").


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

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

  • Yea, but what about people that are already dying from the shot due to it causing a brain nerve disease?

    Sebelius on swine flu: 'We're preparing for the worst'


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.