bundle of nerves

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

bundle of nerves (plural bundles of nerves)

  1. (idiomatic) A person with an especially nervous, excitable, or fearful disposition.
    • 1895, Thomas Hardy, The Hand of Ethelberta, ch. 22:
      Being in point of fact a complete bundle of nerves and nothing else, his thin figure shook like a harp-string in painful excitement at a contretemps which would scarcely have quickened the pulse of an ordinary man.
    • 1972, "Sudsy Whiff of Humanity," Time, 27 Mar.:
      She is a jittery bundle of nerves rather than the tough stoic she ought to be.
  2. (idiomatic, dated) A lively, continually active person.
    • 1883, "Talk Across the Table," New York Times, 5 Nov., p. 4 (retrieved 15 Apr. 2009):
      "Come and take lunch with me." The speaker was a walking, talking bundle of nerves, clothed in black broadcloth. A flawless diamond sparkled on the scarlet scarf that peeped above his close-fitting Prince Albert coat, and a pair of roguish eyes danced above two rosy cheeks.
    • 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mucker, ch. 8:
      He found Pesita pacing back and forth before his tent—an energetic bundle of nerves which no amount of hard riding and fighting could tire or discourage.

Synonyms[edit]