Top 27 Slang For Nervousness – Meaning & Usage

Feeling those butterflies in your stomach? Nervousness is a common emotion we all experience from time to time, but expressing it in words can sometimes be a challenge. Fear not, as we’ve got your back! Our team has curated a list of the most relatable and trendy slang terms for nervousness that will have you nodding in agreement and maybe even chuckling at how accurately they capture that jittery feeling. So sit back, relax, and get ready to dive into this fun and informative listicle!

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1. Jitters

The jitters refer to a state of nervousness or anxiety, often accompanied by trembling or shaking. It is commonly used to describe pre-performance nerves or general unease.

  • For example, “I always get the jitters before a big presentation.”
  • Someone might say, “I have the jitters about meeting my partner’s parents for the first time.”
  • A person experiencing nervousness might mention, “I can’t sleep because I have the jitters about the job interview tomorrow.”

2. Butterflies in the stomach

This phrase describes the sensation of having fluttering movements or a feeling of excitement in the stomach, often associated with nervousness or anticipation. It is commonly used to describe the feeling before a significant event or when experiencing a crush.

  • For instance, “I have butterflies in my stomach before going on stage.”
  • A person might say, “I get butterflies in my stomach whenever I see my crush.”
  • Someone experiencing nervousness might mention, “I always have butterflies in my stomach on the first day of school.”

3. Shook

To be “shook” means to feel extremely nervous, unsettled, or taken aback by a situation. It is often used to describe a strong reaction to something unexpected or overwhelming.

  • For example, “I was completely shook when I found out I won the lottery.”
  • A person might say, “The horror movie left me feeling so shook.”
  • Someone experiencing nervousness might mention, “I’m so shook about the upcoming job interview.”

4. Freaking out

To “freak out” means to feel extreme anxiety or panic. It is commonly used to describe a state of intense nervousness or fear.

  • For instance, “I’m freaking out about the upcoming exam.”
  • A person might say, “Don’t freak out, everything will be fine.”
  • Someone experiencing nervousness might mention, “I’m freaking out about the presentation I have to give tomorrow.”

5. Sweating bullets

This phrase refers to the act of sweating profusely as a result of extreme nervousness or anxiety. It is often used to describe a physical manifestation of nervousness.

  • For example, “I was sweating bullets during the job interview.”
  • A person might say, “I always sweat bullets before public speaking.”
  • Someone experiencing nervousness might mention, “I’m sweating bullets about the upcoming performance.”

6. Wound up

When someone is “wound up,” they are feeling extremely nervous or anxious. It can also refer to someone who is very stressed or overwhelmed.

  • For example, “I have a big presentation tomorrow and I’m really wound up about it.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t sleep because I’m so wound up about the job interview.”
  • In a conversation about stress, someone might mention, “I’ve been feeling really wound up lately, I need a break.”

7. Nervous wreck

A “nervous wreck” is a person who is in a state of extreme nervousness or stress. It is often used to describe someone who is visibly overwhelmed or frazzled.

  • For instance, “I was a nervous wreck before my final exam.”
  • In a discussion about public speaking, someone might say, “I always turn into a nervous wreck whenever I have to give a presentation.”
  • A person might describe their friend as, “She’s a nervous wreck whenever she has to fly on an airplane.”

8. Tense

When someone is “tense,” they are feeling on edge or anxious. It can also refer to a physical state of tightness or stiffness in the muscles.

  • For example, “I’m feeling really tense about the upcoming deadline.”
  • In a conversation about a difficult situation, someone might say, “Things are really tense at work right now.”
  • A person might describe their body as, “I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders and neck when I’m stressed.”

9. Uneasy

When someone feels “uneasy,” they are experiencing a sense of discomfort or unease. It can also refer to a feeling of uncertainty or lack of confidence.

  • For instance, “I have an uneasy feeling about this decision.”
  • In a discussion about a new environment, someone might say, “I always feel a bit uneasy in unfamiliar places.”
  • A person might describe their emotions as, “I’ve been feeling really uneasy lately, like something bad is going to happen.”

10. Agitated

When someone is “agitated,” they are feeling restless, disturbed, or irritated. It can also refer to a state of heightened excitement or anger.

  • For example, “I could tell he was agitated by the way he was pacing back and forth.”
  • In a conversation about a tense situation, someone might say, “Everyone in the room was getting agitated.”
  • A person might describe their mood as, “I’ve been feeling really agitated lately, like I can’t relax.”

11. Panicky

When someone is panicky, they are experiencing intense fear or anxiety. It is a state of being overwhelmed by nervousness.

  • For example, “She started to feel panicky when she realized she was lost in the unfamiliar neighborhood.”
  • In a high-stress situation, someone might say, “I’m starting to get panicky, I need to take a deep breath and calm down.”
  • A person describing their nervousness might say, “I always get panicky before a big presentation, but once I start speaking, the nerves usually fade away.”

12. Jumpy

When someone is jumpy, they are easily startled or nervous. It is a state of being on edge or feeling anxious.

  • For instance, “The loud noise made her jumpy and caused her to jump out of her seat.”
  • In a suspenseful movie, a character might say, “Don’t sneak up on me like that, you know I’m jumpy!”
  • A person describing their jumpy behavior might say, “I’ve always been jumpy around loud noises, it’s just a reflex.”

13. Shivery

When someone feels shivery, they experience a sensation of shaking or trembling due to nervousness. It is a physical manifestation of anxiety.

  • For example, “She felt shivery as she walked onto the stage to perform in front of a large audience.”
  • In a nerve-wracking situation, someone might say, “I can’t stop feeling shivery, I need to find a way to calm my nerves.”
  • A person describing their shivery feeling might say, “Whenever I get really nervous, my hands start to feel shivery and it’s hard to control them.”

14. Anxious

When someone is anxious, they feel worried or uneasy. It is a state of being concerned or apprehensive.

  • For instance, “She became anxious when she realized she had forgotten her presentation materials.”
  • In a stressful situation, someone might say, “I’m feeling really anxious about this upcoming exam, I don’t feel prepared.”
  • A person describing their anxiousness might say, “I tend to get anxious in social situations, especially when meeting new people.”

15. Nervy

When someone is nervy, they have or show a lot of nerves or nervousness. It is a state of being edgy or easily agitated.

  • For example, “He was nervy during the job interview, stumbling over his words and fidgeting.”
  • In a tense situation, someone might say, “Don’t be so nervy, just take a deep breath and relax.”
  • A person describing their nervy behavior might say, “I tend to get nervy in crowded places, it’s hard for me to stay calm and focused.”

16. Wobbly

Feeling unsteady or unstable, often due to nervousness or fear.

  • For example, “I had a wobbly feeling in my legs before going on stage.”
  • A person might say, “I always get wobbly knees when I have to speak in public.”
  • Another might describe their nervousness as, “I felt wobbly all over during the job interview.”

17. Trembling

Involuntary shaking or quivering, often caused by fear, anxiety, or nervousness.

  • For instance, “Her hands were trembling with nervousness.”
  • A person might say, “I couldn’t stop trembling during the scary movie.”
  • Another might describe their nervousness as, “I felt a constant trembling in my body before the big presentation.”

18. Quaking

A strong, involuntary shaking or trembling, typically caused by fear or extreme nervousness.

  • For example, “I felt my legs quaking with nervousness before the bungee jump.”
  • A person might say, “The thought of public speaking makes me quake.”
  • Another might describe their nervousness as, “I could feel my whole body quaking with anxiety.”

19. Scared stiff

Being so scared or nervous that one becomes stiff and unable to move or speak.

  • For instance, “I was scared stiff when I saw the ghost in the haunted house.”
  • A person might say, “The thought of giving a presentation in front of a large audience makes me scared stiff.”
  • Another might describe their nervousness as, “I was scared stiff during the job interview and could barely answer the questions.”

20. Shivering

Involuntary shaking or quivering, often caused by cold or fear.

  • For example, “I was shivering with nervousness before my first skydiving experience.”
  • A person might say, “I couldn’t stop shivering during the horror movie.”
  • Another might describe their nervousness as, “I felt a constant shivering in my body during the important meeting.”

21. Jittery as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

This phrase is used to describe someone who is feeling very anxious or nervous, similar to a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It implies a constant state of unease or restlessness.

  • For example, “I have a big presentation tomorrow and I’m as jittery as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
  • Another example, “He gets jittery as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs whenever he has to speak in public.”
  • One might say, “I always feel jittery as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs before a job interview.”

22. Anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

Similar to the previous phrase, this expression is used to describe someone who is feeling extremely anxious or nervous. It implies a sense of unease and constant worry.

  • For instance, “I’m anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs about the upcoming exam.”
  • Another example, “She’s always anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs when she has to meet new people.”
  • One might say, “I become anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs whenever I have to make a phone call.”

23. Butterflies

When someone says they have “butterflies,” it means they are feeling nervous or excited, often in anticipation of something. The sensation is often described as a fluttering feeling in the stomach.

  • For example, “I have butterflies in my stomach before every performance.”
  • Another example, “He always gets butterflies whenever he has to give a speech.”
  • One might say, “I had butterflies in my stomach the entire time I was waiting for the results.”

24. Shivers down my spine

This phrase is used to describe a strong physical reaction to fear or nervousness. It refers to the sensation of shivers or chills running down one’s spine, often in response to something frightening or anxiety-inducing.

  • For instance, “That horror movie gave me shivers down my spine.”
  • Another example, “The thought of public speaking sends shivers down my spine.”
  • One might say, “Just thinking about the upcoming exam gives me shivers down my spine.”

25. Panic mode

When someone is in “panic mode,” it means they are experiencing a state of extreme panic or anxiety. It implies a heightened state of distress and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

  • For example, “I went into panic mode when I realized I had lost my wallet.”
  • Another example, “She’s always in panic mode before a big deadline.”
  • One might say, “I tend to go into panic mode whenever I’m running late for an important appointment.”

26. Nervous nellie

This term is used to describe someone who is constantly on edge or easily frightened.

  • For example, “She’s such a nervous nellie, she gets jumpy at the slightest noise.”
  • In a conversation about a stressful situation, someone might say, “I don’t want to be a nervous nellie, but I’m really anxious about this.”
  • A person might describe their own nervousness by saying, “I’m feeling like a nervous nellie before my job interview.”

27. Jumping out of one’s skin

This phrase is used to express a high level of nervousness or anxiety.

  • For instance, “When the alarm went off, I jumped out of my skin.”
  • In a discussion about a scary movie, someone might say, “That scene made me jump out of my skin!”
  • A person might describe their reaction to a sudden loud noise by saying, “I nearly jumped out of my skin when the thunderclap sounded.”
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