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Related to Nellie: Nellie Bly
sit next to Nellie
old-fashioned To work alongside a person with a lot of experience so as to learn how best to do a job by watching them work. It used to be the case that new recruits would just sit next to "Nellie" when they joined the team; now, with how quickly technology is advancing, it's often the new recruits who have to explain how things work to the older members of staff.
Someone who is more timid, nervous, or anxious than is normal or reasonable. My mother's always a bit of a nervous Nellie around the grandkids, so she doesn't like to look after them. I'm too much of a nervous Nellie to ever do something like sky diving.
An exclamation of surprise. The phrase is generally thought to have originated as a command to slow down a horse (wherein "Nelly" is the horse's name). They're engaged already? Whoa, Nelly! Whoa, Nelly—what is going on in here?
Rur. Wait! Stop! Tom: When I get that money, I'm gonna get me my own place, and then you and I can get married, and—Jane: Whoa, Nellie! When did I say I was going to marry you? Whoa, Nellie! Did you measure them boards before you started cuttin' 'em?
An unduly timid or anxious person, as in He's a real nervous Nellie, calling the doctor about every little symptom. This term does not allude to a particular person named Nellie; rather, the name was probably chosen for the sake of alliteration. [Colloquial; c. 1920]
sit next to Nellielearn how to do a job or task by watching and copying someone experienced in it. informal
n. any nervous person, male or female. Sue is such a nervous Nellie. She should calm down.