Meaning of NERVE in English

I. ˈnərv, -ə̄v, -əiv noun

( -s )

Etymology: Latin nervus sinew, nerve; akin to Greek neuron sinew, nerve, string, Sanskrit snāvan sinew, Greek nēn to spin — more at needle


a. : sinew , tendon — used in the phrase to strain every nerve

b. : a sinew or tendon taken (as for a bowstring or for thread) from an animal

2. : one of the filamentous bands of nervous tissue that connect parts of the nervous system with the other organs of the body and conduct nervous impulses to or away from these organs and that are made up of nerve fibers together with protective and supportive structure with the fibers of larger nerves being gathered into funiculi surrounded by a perineurium and the funiculi being enclosed in a common epineurium


a. : the mainspring of action, drive, force, or vitality : the center or source of energy or direction

develops and finds the nerve of its own style — Milton Klonsky

proved again and again that he himself was the heart and nerve of the whole undertaking

b. : power of endurance, self-command, equilibrium, or control : fortitude , heart , stamina , strength

knew that now he was to face some trial of mind and nerve — Gilbert Parker

c. : boldness , daring

true leadership begins when a statesman … has the nerve to dwell on distasteful facts — Fremont Rider

often : presumptuous audacity or hardihood : brass , effrontery , gall I 3

the nerve of her


a. : a sore or sensitive point : a touchy subject or aspect

touched the pocketbook nerve

b. nerves plural : nervous disorganization or collapse : hysteria

went all to pieces with nerves

5. : vein 3a

magnesium deficiency causes a light yellow discoloration of the old leaves except for the parenchyma along the nerves — Charles Coster

6. : the sensitive pulp of a tooth

7. : vein 3c

8. : the aggregate of the physical properties (as firmness, strength, and elasticity) characteristic of crude rubber : rubbery quality

low-grade soft rubbers lack nerve

Synonyms: see temerity

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

: to give strength, vigor, or courage to : supply with physical or moral force

this feeling … nerved him to break through the awe-inspiring aloofness of his captain — Joseph Conrad

Synonyms: see encourage

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.