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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 periodicals archive ?
In an interview or an elocution, the persons sitting in front of us are likely to evaluate or judge our confidence and ability by our expressions and body language and nervousness leads to restless movements, sweating and an appearance of frailty that lead to an inability to complete or perform a task.
At times, nervousness seemed to be evoked as an explanative tool.
"It is a game that gives you butterflies and that nervousness," said Cattermole, looking ahead to tomorrow night's derby.
NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton said: "Following a quiet July, registrations bounced back in August and September as the industry shrugged off early nervousness following the vote to leave the EU."
Asked how his nervousness before the ceremony compares to how he feels before an important fixture, he said: "About the same."
Las Vegas, NV, December 19, 2013 --( Perhaps fearing a weaker economic recovery and nervousness about the future, a slight majority surveyed say they are spending less on Christmas gifts this year than last.
As a player or selector, McHale has been involved in four of them so appreciates nervousness among fans right now.
If we get the correction and the nervousness due to the (eventual) tapering and the nervousness that eventually is going to come...
Falls were replicated in Europe as economic fears were compounded by nervousness about a recent outbreak of deadly bird flu in China.
According to Justine Murison, they were all connected to developing conceptions of the human nervous system, nerves, and nervousness in the minds of nineteenth-century Americans.
He said: "With that little bit of nervousness with a new manager and new voices, there was a great deal of enthusiasm to the point where at times we had to say, 'Calm down.' "The early part of the little game we played was a little bit hectic because of that enthusiasm.
RETAILERS are in a "state of nervousness" amid signs that shoppers are holding off on Christmas purchases in the hope of bargains in the coming weeks, a report said.
Ahmed Al-Safani, a specialist in abdominal diseases at the Military Hospital, said last year's political turmoil, widespread instability, increased costs and nervousness were all factors.
The evidence of this nervousness is in the fact that the German press recently echoed the tensions at the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) concerning the stance it is taking on unbundling.