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[nurv-rak-ing] /ˈnɜrvˌræk ɪŋ/
extremely irritating, annoying, or trying:
a nerve-racking day; a nerve-racking noise.
Also, nerve-wracking.
Origin of nerve-racking
1805-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nerve-wracking
  • It's a little more nerve-wracking, but we'll make it.
  • Buying a house is always thrilling-and nerve-wracking, because you have no way of knowing what problems lurk.
  • It's nerve-wracking and indescribably bad, and people even leave during it.
  • The invitation was an honor, but a nerve-wracking one.
  • It was certainly an honor, if a nerve-wracking one, for the five chosen students.
  • Waiting for a flight to arrive can be nerve-wracking.
  • Preparing for a backpacking trip can be nerve-wracking.
  • Bill speaks fluently on other subjects, but it can be nerve-wracking to hear him talk about designs of houses and buildings.
  • But on the other hand, it was absolutely nerve-wracking.
  • These were a poor surrogate for powered aircraft, and towing them was undoubtedly a nerve-wracking job.
British Dictionary definitions for nerve-wracking


very distressing, exhausting, or harrowing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nerve-wracking

also nervewracking, 1867, from nerve + present participle of wrack (v.).



also nerveracking, 1812, from nerve + present participle of verbal sense of rack (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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