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- All nervous and jerky like a windup toy or maybe a cockroach on its back, waving its legs and trying to turn over —George Garrett
- Clucked nervously, like a mongoose —Romain Gary
- Excitable … like a little rooster —Irwin Shaw
- (Sat there open-mouthed,) feeling the nerves of his body twitter like so many sparrows perched upon his spinal column —F.Scott Fitzgerald
- Felt as if she were on the edge of a frozen pond, forced to go forward and not knowing how thick the ice was —Donald MacKenzie
- Felt as if someone had taken a vegetable peeler to my nerves —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- His nerves set themselves on edge like soured teeth —H. E. Bates
- His stomach felt like a volcano about to erupt —Andrew Kaplan
- It’s (persistent feeling of impending insanity) like my head’s in a vice and all the assholes of the world are turning the goddam handle —Thomas Williams
- Jumpy as a goat —James Thurber
- Jumpy as a greyhound —Wallace Stegner
- Jumpy as a jumping bean —Anon
- Lived like an exposed nerve —Rita Mae Brown
- Looked … like a nervous rabbit nibbling the smell of a gun barrel —Paul Theroux
- Nerves burned like open sores on a dog’s neck —Hunter S. Thompson
- Nerves like a bundle of firecrackers —Amy Lowell
Lowell’s poem, Rosebud Wall-Paper, from which this is taken was written in country dialogue, with ‘of written as ‘o’.
- Nerves like new thread —John Updike
- Nerves tied in small, intricate knots, like embroidery stitching —Jean Thompson
- (In rapid motion, bright,) nervous as a butterfly —Marge Piercy
- Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof —Anon
In a television interview playwright Tennessee Williams stated that his father always used this phrase which became the title for one of his best known plays. It also served as a line for one of the leading characters, Maggie. During the interview Williams credited this and many other colorful phrases to Southern Blacks.
- Nervous as a coyote in a pen —W. P. Kinsella
- Nervous as a dog with a bone —Ben Hecht
- Nervous as a hamster —Reynolds Price
- Nervous as a kitten with a duck for a foster mother —Victor Canning
- Nervous as a whore in church —American colloquialism
- Nervous as a will o’-the-wisp —F. Scott Fitzgerald
- On edge, like some restless night —Yasunari Kawabata
- (They felt everything, feared everything, started back at the snapping of a twig, all their) senses strained like those of nervous explorers cautiously advancing, hand on cocked trigger, into an unknown jungle —Dorothy Canfield Fisher
- Shuddering and wary, like horses bewildered by lightning —Ted Hughes
Hughes’ poem, A Wind Flashes the Grass, links the comparison of the wary horses to trees suddenly silent and motionless.
- White and shaken, like a dry martini —P. G. Wodehouse
- Wriggle nervously like captive fish —Margaret Millar
|Noun||1.||nervousness - the anxious feeling you have when you have the jitters|
anxiety - a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune
|2.||nervousness - an uneasy psychological state; "he suffered an attack of nerves"|
mental condition, mental state, psychological condition, psychological state - (psychology) a mental condition in which the qualities of a state are relatively constant even though the state itself may be dynamic; "a manic state"
|3.||nervousness - a sensitive or highly strung temperament|
nervousness about sth → nervosité quant à qch
nervousness about the future → nervosité quant à l'avenir
There was nervousness in the White House about what might happen → La nervosité régnait à la Maison Blanche dans l'attente de ce qui allait bien pouvoir se passer.