nervous Nellie

nervous Nellie

noun Informal.
a constantly nervous, worried, or timid person.

Origin:
1925–30

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

nervous Nellie

An unduly timid or anxious person, as in He's a real nervous Nellie, calling the doctor about every little symptom. This term does not allude to a particular person named Nellie; rather, the name was probably chosen for the sake of alliteration. [Colloquial; c. 1920]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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