1 in the body
pinched (AmE), trapped (BrE)
facial, optic, sciatic, spinal, etc.
damage, pinch (AmE), strain, trap (BrE)

He damaged a nerve in his spine.

go, lead, run

The nerve runs from the eye to the brain.

transmit sth

The nerves transmit pain.

supply sth
control sth

The vagus nerve controls heart rate and breathing.

bundle, cell, ending, fibre/fiber, sheath, tissue
activity, function
impulse, signal
damage, injury
disease, dysfunction, paralysis
along a/the nerve

The message travels along the nerve to the brain.

nerve in

He's been off work with a trapped nerve in his back.

nerve to

Cutting the nerves to the stomach does not affect hunger.

every nerve in sb's body

Intense pain shot through every nerve in his body.

hit a nerve, strike a (raw) nerve, touch a (raw) nerve (all figurative)

My remarks about divorce had unwittingly touched a raw nerve.

2 nerves mental state
bad, frayed, frazzled, jangled, shattered, taut

At the end of a day's teaching, her nerves were absolutely shattered.

fray, stretch

Her nerves were stretched to breaking point.

be on edge

After the bomb, my nerves were on edge.

be shot (informal)

Her nerves were shot from all the things happening around her.


His nerves jangled every time the phone rang.

get the better of sb

He uncharacteristically allowed nerves to get the better of him in yesterday's game.

a battle of nerves, a war of nerves

The union has been fighting a war of nerves with the management over pay.

get on sb's nerves

His endless whining really gets on my nerves.

nerves of steel

You need nerves of steel to be a good poker player.

a strain on sb's nerves

Caring for him while he was so ill has been a great strain on her nerves.

3 nerves nervous state
exam (esp. BrE), first-night (BrE)

I've never suffered from first-night nerves.

jittery (AmE)

It gave me time to calm my jittery nerves before meeting her.

calm, control, ease, settle, soothe, steady

She took a few deep breaths to calm her nerves.

suffer from
an attack of nerves

I had an attack of nerves just before I went on stage.

a bag of nerves, a bundle of nerves

By the time of the interview, I was a bundle of nerves.

4 courage

I didn't have the nerve to ask.


At the last minute she almost lost her nerve.


He kept his nerve to win a thrilling game.


You must find the nerve to ask for more money.

gather, steel

Steeling my nerve, I jumped the first bar.


It took a lot of nerve to stand up and speak.

break, fail (sb)

At the last moment her nerve failed her.

a failure of nerve, a loss of nerve
a test of nerve

Singing in front of so many people was a real test of nerve.

Collocations dictionary. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • nerve — erve (n[ e]rv), n. [OE. nerfe, F. nerf, L. nervus, akin to Gr. ney^ron sinew, nerve; cf. neyra string, bowstring; perh. akin to E. needle. Cf. {Neuralgia}.] 1. (Anat.) One of the whitish and elastic bundles of fibers, with the accompanying… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nerve Up — Studio album by Lonelady Released 22 February 2010 …   Wikipedia

  • nerve — [nʉrv] n. [ME nerfe < OFr nerf < L nervus, sinew, nerve, string < IE base * (s)nēu , to twist, wind > Gr neuron, tendon, nerve, OE sneowan, to hurry] 1. a sinew or tendon: now only in the phr. strain every nerve, to try as hard as… …   English World dictionary

  • nervé — ● nervé, nervée adjectif Se dit d un élément d architecture qui comporte des nervures, un réseau de nervures. ● nervé, nervée (synonymes) adjectif Se dit d un élément d architecture qui comporte des nervures, un... Synonymes : nervuré ⇒NERVÉ, ÉE …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • nerve — ► NOUN 1) a fibre or bundle of fibres in the body that transmits impulses of sensation between the brain or spinal cord and other parts of the body. 2) (nerves or one s nerve) steadiness and courage in a demanding situation: the journey tested… …   English terms dictionary

  • Nerve — (n[ e]rv), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Nerved} (n[ e]rvs); p. pr. & vb. n. {Nerving}.] To give strength or vigor to; to supply with force; as, fear nerved his arm. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nerve — n effrontery, *temerity, audacity, hardihood, cheek, gall Analogous words: boldness, intrepidity (see corresponding adjectives at BRAVE): *fortitude,grit, pluck, sand, guts: foolhardiness, recklessness (see corresponding adjectives at… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • nerve — [n] daring, boldness assumption, assurance, audacity, backbone, brass*, bravery, brazenness, cheek*, chutzpah*, confidence, coolness, courage, crust*, determination, effrontery, endurance, energy, face*, fearlessness, firmness, force, fortitude,… …   New thesaurus

  • nervé — Nervé, [nerv]ée. part. Un battoir bien nervé. la pointe de cette arçon n est pas bien nervée …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • nerve — index audacity, confidence (faith), prowess (bravery), reassure, temerity Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • nervé — nervé, ée (nèr vé, vée) part. passé de nerver. 1°   Panneaux nervés. 2°   Terme de botanique. Qui est muni de nervures, ou qui en a de très saillantes.    Terme de blason. Se dit des feuilles dont les nervures sont d un émail différent …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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