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Related to nervous: nervous breakdown, nervous system
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(as) nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

Extremely nervous. (The cat's long tail would be in danger of getting caught under a swaying rocking chair.) I was nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs as I waited for them to announce the winner.
See also: cat, chair, full, nervous, of, rocking, room

be frightened of (one's) (own) shadow

To be easily or constantly spooked, nervous, timid, afraid, or fearfully suspicious. I can't say I have much faith in Johnny helping us on this expedition—that boy's frightened of his own shadow!
See also: frighten, of, shadow

be nervous of (one's) (own) shadow

To be easily or constantly spooked, nervous, timid, afraid, or fearfully suspicious. I can't say I have much faith in Johnny helping us on this expedition—that boy's nervous of his own shadow!
See also: nervous, of, shadow

be scared of (one's) (own) shadow

To be easily or constantly spooked, nervous, timid, afraid, or fearfully suspicious. I can't say I have much faith in Johnny helping us on this expedition—that boy's scared of his own shadow!
See also: of, scare, shadow

nervous hit

A production for which success is not guaranteed, despite positive reviews or acclaim. If our show is a nervous hit, who knows how long it will last on Broadway. The film has had rave reviews, but most analysts expect it to be a nervous hit, as it is a genre not usually known to bring in large number of moviegoers.
See also: hit, nervous

Nervous Nellie

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.
See also: Nellie, nervous

nervous wreck

Someone who is overcome with anxiety, apprehension, or nervousness. Where have you been all night? I've been a nervous wreck waiting for you to come home! I'm going to be a nervous wreck waiting to hear back from the doctor about the test results.
See also: nervous, wreck
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nervous Nellie

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]
See also: Nellie, nervous

nervous wreck

An individual suffering from extreme agitation or worry, as in Pat was a nervous wreck until her mother arrived at the wedding. This expression is nearly always used hyperbolically. [Colloquial; c. 1900] Also see basket case.
See also: nervous, wreck
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

be frightened/nervous/scared of your own ˈshadow

be very easily frightened; be very nervous: Since the attack he’s been a changed man. He’s nervous of his own shadow and doesn’t like to go out alone at night.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

nervous Nellie

n. any nervous person, male or female. Sue is such a nervous Nellie. She should calm down.
See also: Nellie, nervous
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

nervous Nellie

A person who worries unduly or is foolishly fearful. The term apparently originated in the late 1920s and referred to Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, who served from 1925 to 1929. It soon was picked up and used for any individual, male or female, who showed such qualities. Richard Dyer used it in a review of Acis and Galatea, writing: “The direction presented him [Acis] as a kind of nervous Nellie, unable to decide which shirt to wear to impress Galatea” (Boston Globe, Nov. 23, 2004). See also worry wart.
See also: Nellie, nervous
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
Sara Ray also managed to get through respectably, although she was pitiably nervous. Her bow was naught but a short nod--"as if her head worked on wires," whispered Felicity uncharitably--and the wave of her lily-white hand more nearly resembled an agonized jerk than a wave.
"Well, well," said the resident patient, in a nervous fashion, "of course it is hard to say that.
"He was morbidly nervous of fire, and always kept this beside him, so that he might escape by the window in case the stairs were burning."
"Old woman; full feeder; nervous subject; palpitation of the heart; pressure on the brain; apoplexy; off she goes.
It was a nervous moment, and Rebecca's heart beat quick as she recognized the carriage; and as the two vehicles crossed each other in a line, she clasped her hands, and looked towards the spinster with a face of agonized attachment and devotion.
Then Billina gave several loud "cluck-clucks" that seemed to make the fat little King MORE nervous than ever, and marched through the entrance into the enchanted palace.
The worst and most tiresome part of his character, what made all relations with him so difficult, had been forgotten by Konstantin Levin when he thought of him, and now, when he saw his face, and especially that nervous twitching of his head, he remembered it all.
ENPNewswire-August 22, 2019--Virgin Australia introduces programme for nervous flyers
Kim Chiu nervous for upcoming face-off with Julia Barretto !-- -- Jan Milo Severo ( - August 19, 2019 - 11:54am MANILA, Philippines Kapamilya actress Kim Chiu was nervous to face-off with Julia Barretto.
M2 PRESSWIRE-July 26, 2019-: Global Central Nervous System Drugs Market Report 2019
Gut bacteria play an important role in protecting the brain and nervous system from harmful viruses, according to a study.
And despite playing in an FA Cup Final he was in the Hammers side beaten by Liverpool in Cardiff in 2006 and winning two caps for England, he insists he has never been more nervous ahead of a sporting event.
Summary: Washington DC, [USA] Oct 22 (ANI): A latest study has given an insight into how animal nervous systems evolved from simple structures to become the complex network transmitting signals between different parts of the body.
Edward Barber was pleasantly surprised to learn Maymay Entrata remembered scenes from 'First Love' in which he felt nervous.