Meaning of “nerve” in the English Dictionary

"nerve" in British English

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uk /nɜːv/ us /nɝːv/

nerve noun (BODY)

C2 [ C ] a group of long, thin fibres (= structures like threads) that carry information or instructions between the brain and other parts of the body:

the optic nerve
a spinal nerve
nerve damage
nerve fibres

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nerve noun (WORRY)

nerves [ plural ]

B2 worry or anxiety about something that is going to happen:

I never suffer from nerves when I'm speaking in public.
She was a bundle of nerves (= very nervous) before the audition.
I always have a cigarette to calm/steady my nerves (= make me less nervous) before I go on stage.
get on sb's nerves

B2 to annoy someone a lot:

We really got on each other's nerves when we were living together.
Please stop making that noise! It really gets on my nerves.
steady/strong nerves

B2 the ability to be calm in difficult situations:

You need a cool head and steady nerves for this job.

nerve noun (RUDENESS)

C2 [ S or U ] the rudeness to do something that you know will upset other people:

[ + to infinitive ] She's late for work every day, but she still has the nerve to lecture me about punctuality.
That man has some nerve! He's always blaming me for things that are his fault.
UK also That man has such a nerve!
She drove the car into a tree and then told me it was my fault for not concentrating, of all the nerve!


uk /nɜːv/ us /nɝːv/

(Definition of “nerve” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"nerve" in American English

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us /nɜrv/

nerve noun (BODY FIBER)

biology [ C ] a group of long, thin fibers in the body, esp. in the brain, which send and receive messages that control how the body reacts to signals it receives, such as to changes in temperature or pressure against the skin

nerve noun (BRAVERY)

[ U ] bravery or confidence necessary to do something difficult or unpleasant:

It takes a lot of nerve to get up in front of a class when you’re not used to it.

[ U ] Nerve also means the ability to do something rude without caring about other people’s feelings:

She has some nerve.
I can't believe she had the nerve to call me fat!

(Definition of “nerve” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)