nervous

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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 Nellie

Someone, either male or female, 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

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 periodicals archive ?
We were told, by a shy waiter, nervously smiling and biting his lip, that the dishes we had ordered were not available.
A neatly dressed man who scooped up $640,000 in fresh, plastic-wrapped cash that tumbled out of an armoured car two days ago nervously returned his haul, the FBI said.
elections have been counted and recounted, litigation has reached the highest court in the country, the stock market bounces nervously, and media pundits speculate on the health of the nation.
As empirical evidence and theoretical coherence multiplied on the Copernicans, some high ecclesiastics not only winked, but unsuccessfully tried to reassure the faithful: upon receiving a Copernican armillary sphere from the cardinal-president of the Congregation of the Index in the early eighteenth century, the Bolognese Academy of Sciences nervously commissioned Ptolemaic and Tychonic counterparts for it.
Freed from the fears and competitions that had for centuries kept them nervously looking over their shoulders, the West Europeans and East Asians were able to cooperate politically and economically, creating the unprecedentedly prosperous and stable international order that the advanced industrialized states enjoy today.
As Juhani Pallasmaa has observed - 'Architecture is nervously seeking its self definition and autonomy in the embrace of the culture of consumption, which turns it into a commodity and entertainment'.
On December 14, 1995, Getty sat nervously in a San Francisco hospital as purified baboon bone marrow cells dripped into one of his veins.
About 6 months into a pregnancy, some anxious parents-to-be stash a suitcase at the front door and nervously wait day and night for that moment when the mother's labor starts and the mad rush to the hospital begins.
In the wake of Bill Clinton's announcement that he intends to lift the ban on gays in the military, the pundits sat there with their legs crossed real tight, hands protecting their crotches, and tittered nervously as they defined all gay people exclusively by their sexuality.
Summary: Pakistan secured their first Test win against Australia in 15 years after they nervously secured the 40 runs they needed at Headingley.
Hooligan A few locals coughed nervously, but did nothing.
I get so nervous speaking from my heart and always want a script because I feel more comfortable as an actress than as myself,'' Longoria nervously admitted.
Steve coppell: "We started nervously and looked anxious.
It's only 10 past 4 On a Friday afternoon My feet are twitching nervously As I'll be escaping very soon This day has dragged on a lifetime I've hardly done a thing A few clicks on my computer And an occasional telephone ring I'm sure that clock has stopped As its stares at me in delight Hurry up and tick Because I want to get home tonight So I decided to write this poem To stimulate my brain To kill a bit of time And keep me from going insane