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By a metathesis of Old Latin *neuros, a thematicization of Proto-Indo-European *snḗh₁wr̥ (sinew, tendon). Cognates include Ancient Greek νεῦρον (neûron, tendon, string, nerve), Old English seonu (tendon, nerve, sinew). More at English nerve.



nervus m (genitive nervī); second declension

  1. (anatomy) A sinew, tendon, nerve, muscle.
  2. A cord, string or wire; string of a musical instrument; bow, bowstring; cords or wires by which a puppet is moved.
  3. The leather with which shields were covered.
  4. A thong with which a person was bound; fetter; prison.
  5. (of plants) A fiber or fibre.
  6. (figuratively) Vigor, force, power, strength, energy, nerve.
    Synonym: vīs


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative nervus nervī
Genitive nervī nervōrum
Dative nervō nervīs
Accusative nervum nervōs
Ablative nervō nervīs
Vocative nerve nervī

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • nervus”, in Charlton T[homas] Lewis; Charles [Lancaster] Short (1879) [] A New Latin Dictionary [], New York, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Ill.: American Book Company; Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • nervus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • nervus in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • nervus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to strain every nerve, do one's utmost in a matter: omnes nervos in aliqua re contendere
    • to strain every nerve, do one's utmost in a matter: omnibus viribusor nervis contendere, ut
    • instrumental music: nervorum et tibiarum cantus
    • vocal and instrumental music: vocum et fidium (nervorum) cantus
    • to strike the strings of the lyre: pellere nervos in fidibus
  • nervus”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • nervus”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin


Old French[edit]


From Latin nervōsus.


nervus m (oblique and nominative feminine singular nervuse)

  1. sinew; tendon (attributively)