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 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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
She laughed, nervously, mumbled 'sorry' and stared blankly at him.
For months they had watched nervously as hundreds of fires burned up large tracts of forest and threatened settlements along both sides of the Green Bay.
On a nationally televised NBC telethon, West nervously stammered through a condemnation of the incompetent response by the federal government.
Emilia nervously chews skin from her fingers, and she draws the story of her family in a book she hides carefully.
(According to Irving Sandler, when Held's rising star led to a teaching job at Yale in 1962, he nervously asked for advice from Alex Katz, who responded in characteristically streetwise fashion: "Hey, Al, you know those kids up at Yale, you know what they are?
Williams will unveil their 2005 driver line-up today in Valencia, with Antonio Pizzonia and Nick Heidfeld waiting nervously.
It reportedly meowed nervously during the 40-minute journey.
Nervously I did, and although I recited all the major points, I appeared to miss some of the details.
Parishioners waited nervously for Bishop Fred Hiltz to arrive for the 125th anniversary celebration of St.
JGBs to move nervously, focus on 10-yr JGB auction, Tankan
While the drop doesn't exactly put JT in the poor-house, it's certainly got the suits at head office reaching nervously for their Mild Sevens.
Whenever I tried to imagine any of my time-pressed, stressed-out friends in the seat beside me, I could only hear them sighing in impatient exasperation, or squirming in their seats, or nervously fidgeting with their fingers or their hair.
Why was Charlie Mann (right) spotted looking so pensive, nervously finger-tapping the steering wheel of his Mercedes in the car park at HM Wormwood Scrubs Prison in West London recently?
As the authors noted somewhat nervously: "Apparently kangaroos and wallabies (which, technically, are herbivorous) will occasionally seek mineral supplements from animal carcasses, or by licking salt from seaside rocks.
And many are watching nervously as the Greens' Ed McGaa takes on Minnesota's Senator Paul Wellstone, a noted liberal Democrat locked in a tough battle with his Republican opponent as the balance of power is in play in the U.S.