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See also: nervewracking



1867,[1] following earlier nerve-racking (1812).


nerve-wracking (comparative more nerve-wracking, superlative most nerve-wracking)

  1. (proscribed) Alternative form of nerve-racking
    • 1867 June 1, “Marriage Sermons and Serenades”, in The Guardian[1], page 172:
      To thrust this grating, screeching, nerve wracking, heart-rending, worse than Pandemonial howling, upon such an occasion, is the climax of cruelty.
    • 1960 June, Cecil J. Allen, “Locomotive Running Past and Present”, in Trains Illustrated, page 368:
      One could hardly commend any of these nerve-wracking exploits; [...].

Usage notes[edit]

Etymologically incorrect, but in common use;[2] strict usage prefers original nerve-racking. See usage notes for rack for details.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “nerve-wracking”, in Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ nerve-wracking, nerve-racking at Google Ngram Viewer