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nerve noun

1 in the body

ADJ. sensitive, trapped | facial, optic, spinal, etc.

VERB + NERVE damage, strain, trap I've trapped a nerve in my spine.

NERVE + VERB go, lead, run The nerve runs from the eye to the brain. | transmit sth The nerves transmit pain. | throb He lay awake, his nerves throbbing.

NERVE + NOUN cell, end, ending, fibre, tissue | pathway | impulse | damage, injury | gas

PREP. along a/the ~ The message travels along the nerve to the brain. | ~ in He's been off work with a trapped nerve in his back. | ~ to Cutting the nerves to the stomach does not affect hunger.

PHRASES every nerve in sb's body Intense pain shot through every nerve in his body. | hit a nerve, touch a (sensitive/raw) nerve (figurative) My remarks about divorce had unwittingly touched a raw nerve.

2 nerves: mental state

ADJ. good, steady | bad, frayed, ragged, shattered, taut At the end of a day's teaching, her nerves were absolutely shattered.

VERB + NERVE stretch Her nerves were stretched to breaking point.

NERVE + VERB be on edge After the bomb, my nerves were on edge. | jangle His nerves jangled every time the phone rang. | stand I'm not sure my nerves can stand another night like this.

PREP. ~s for Skydiving is all right for people who've got the nerves for it.

PHRASES a battle/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 Looking after him while he was so ill has been a great strain on her nerves.

3 nerves: nervous state

ADJ. exam, first-night I've never suffered from first-night nerves.

VERB + NERVE calm, control, soothe, steady She took a few deep breaths to calm her nerves. | suffer from

PHRASES an attack of nerves I had an attack of nerves just before I went on stage. | a bag/bundle/mass of nerves By the time of the interview, I was a bundle of nerves.

4 courage

ADJ. sufficient

VERB + NERVE have I didn't have the nerve to ask. | lack | lose At the last minute she almost lost her nerve. | keep He kept his nerve to win a thrilling match. | find You must find the nerve to ask for more money. | take It took a lot of nerve to stand up and speak.

NERVE + VERB break, crack, fail (sb) At the last moment her nerve failed her.

PHRASES a failure/loss of nerve, a test of nerve Singing in front of so many people was a real test of nerve.