My aunt is a nervous woman.


Senior Member
Can I use "nervous" in this context?

"My aunt is a nervous woman."

I think nervous should be a temporary state of mind, so I should not use
it to describe a person's disposition.
  • Transatlantic

    srpskohrvatski; English
    "Nervous" does not really mean "sensitive", though. It means something similar to "anxious", but less strong, i.e. excited in a negative way.

    You can be nervous before an exam or a job interview, for example, because you don't know if it's going to go well.


    If you mean to say "she often gets nervous about stuff", I'd probably say something like, "My aunt is an excitable person." "Excitable" is a characteristic.

    "Nervous" refers to a mental state. So, you can say, "My aunt is nervous (now)." Basically, I'd say your initial hypothesis was right.

    I wouldn't say, "She is a nervous person," but I would say something like, "She often gets nervous before job interviews."

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In BE I think we do talk about a nervous person - to mean someone diffident, uncertain of themselves, and inclined to bouts of insecurity. We are talking about their general disposition.

    It doesn't usually mean someone given to depression: we'd say depressive, or, more positively, highly-strung, for that.

    We can also say that someone is nervous about a particular situation, or about an event in the future. That means they are anxious about it.

    Or I'm nervous can mean that you feel stage-fright, often about some performance you are about to put on, a concert, a speech, something involving public exposure.


    Senior Member
    Thank you, Thomas. I realized I should not use the sentence because the meaning I had meant is different from what you have suggested. Your
    "diffident" gave me a big hint.