Language Tips

feeling nervous

Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to talk about feelings. This week’s tip looks at adjectives and phrases that mean worried about something that is going to happen or that you have to do:



nervous worried about something that is going to happen, or something that you have to do:

  • She was nervous about walking home so late.
  • Callum gave a nervous laugh.

tense feeling nervous and unable to relax, because you are worried about something that is going to happen:

  • He was tired, but too tense to sleep.

Tense is also used about places and situations where people are tense: The city remains tense after last week’s attack.

uneasy feeling slightly worried or nervous about something, often because you are not sure that what you are doing is right:

  • He looks very uneasy in interviews.
  • Parents are uneasy about giving this medication to their children.

on edge nervous and unable to relax because you are worried:

  • He’s been on edge all morning

stressed or stressed out feeling worried and unable to relax, especially because you have a lot of problems that you cannot cope with:

  • I’ve been feeling really stressed out lately.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘feeling nervous‘.

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Liz Potter

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