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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

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.

nervous Nellie

n. any nervous person, male or female. Sue is such a nervous Nellie. She should calm down.
See also: Nellie, nervous
References in classic literature ?
Why, yes, yes, dinner, you know - just pot luck with us, with your old superintendent, you rascal," he uttered nervously, poking Martin in an attempt at jocular fellowship.
Half nervously, half irritably, I asked who was there.
You don't understand," retorted the little monarch, nervously.
Dolly looked nervously round, fearing that she had been inappropriate.
Anxious to contribute, she laughed nervously, and said: "Good-bye, Mr.
And having relieved his mind by this outpouring of generosity, he went and dined nervously at the club, waiting until the great moment of his life should come.
If Rawdon Crawley had been then and there present, instead of being at the club nervously drinking claret, the pair might have gone down on their knees before the old spinster, avowed all, and been forgiven in a twinkling.
She felt her eyes opening wider and wider, her fingers and toes twitching nervously, something within oppressing her breathing, while all shapes and sounds seemed in the uncertain half-light to strike her with unaccustomed vividness.
Her fingers twined together nervously in her lap, her eyes looked down again at the floor, and an expression of constraint settled on her face which looked almost like an expression of pain.
She listened attentively, with the constrained expression still on her face, and her hands still nervously clasped together in her lap.
She looked nervously round, twice or thrice, and once stopped to let two men who were following close behind her, pass on.
Now in its third series, this is the programme which gives us the chance to see couples nervously - or not so nervously - enjoying/ enduring blind dates in front of all-seeing cameras in a London restaurant.
IF Darren Clarke thought it was a long two hours waiting to hear the verdict of the Ryder hours waiting to hear the verdict of the Ryder Cup selection panel he should have spent Cup selection panel he should have spent them pacing around nervously in my shoes.
The singer nervously hooked herself up for a parasailing trip off the beach at Monte Carlo.
We all do it; smile nervously when we know we're in the wrong, but are hoping the other party isn't going to question our mistake.