1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Nerve-wracking definition?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Alesia, Sep 22, 2013.

    What is the true definition of Nerve-Wracking? I looked at about ten different dictionaries and thesauruses and got almost ten different definitions. Some imply it only applies to extremely stressful situations (in the sense of great fear or anxiety) while others give it a lesser edge (could be used for simple irritation or annoyance.) Could I use it either way, in the sense of hearing an unknown buzzing sound and being somewhat annoyed by it (Oh god, I wish that noise would stop kind of thing)?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think it connotes more severely stressful events/situations.
     
  3. HarleyQ.
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    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

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    Nerve-wracking could be extremely stressful, anxious, or fearful situations.

    Here's an example about what someone with a phobia of flying might say: The idea of flying on a plane is nerve-wracking.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yah, like waiting for the results of an exam you don't know whether you passed. And your life depends on passing. Sort of feeling.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    imo, the cause has to rise to a more than just 'annoying' level, such as hearing a noise that disturbs one's mood...

    that said, an unabating buzzing sound that goes on for a significant period of time when the hearer cannot escape it could definitely be 'nerve-wracking' in one sense of the word...
     
  6. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I guess you'd say that's sort of the case. There's been two "mini scenes" with increasing levels of consciousness that each start with and onomonotopiea (I.E. buzzzz, buzzzz, buzzz...) each starting with "What's that noise?" however being in a semi-comatose state, there's really no way of truly knowing what it is or where it's coming from.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if the person is semi-comatose, 'nerve-wracking' may not fit...
     
  8. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Is there another term that might fit better? I'm going for that effect you feel when like you're sitting in the waiting room on a dentist and you hear the drill coming from the back and you can feel it in your bones and it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. But not from fear, just that high pitched Bzzzzzzzzzzz driving you nuts.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the problem is still with the character being semi-comatose... in that state, i don't see how any noise would cause major distress, since the mind isn't fully operational...
     

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