Hi guys,

I have problems figuring out what exactly the phrase " The nerve of him! " means and how to use it.

Thanks for your comments.
New Member48
From Answers.com:

Brazen boldness; effrontery: had the nerve to deny it.

Here's a site that has several examples of usage:
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/nerve
Contributing Member1,732
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It's used just as you have it.
A person with this kind of nerve (lack of fear) does not observe the formalities of etiquette. He speaks his mind regardless of whom he affronts or offends or insults.

Use the expression after someone commits a blatent act of selfishness, or criticizes someone for doing something improper, which he himself has often done.

Geez, I can't think of a good example. When a platter is first passed around at the dinner table, and the second person takes all the meat for himself, leaving nothing for the others, that would be "nerve."

Re the examples in Ray's site, many give the person credit for bravery. I think in the usage you quote, the expression is always used as a pejorative. (Well, almost always. You could admire someone's bravery while thinking he's crazy or stupid to risk his life on a useless stunt.)

Hmm, I see Ray spelled "effront" correctly and I didn't! Emotion: rolleyes
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Some examples, Avangi:

"You've got a nerve bringing my car back like that: full of rubbish and with an empty tank!"

"It takes a lot of nerve to work in bomb disposal; or politics."

A reply to a cheeky comment:
"Well, of all the nerve!"
alternatively
"The nerve of it!"
Full Member126
Patrick LockerbyYou've got a nerve bringing my car back like that: full of rubbish and with an empty tank!"

Is this a British phrasing? In the US, we almost always would add 'lot of' to the sentence similar to the next sentence.

You've got a lot of nerve bringing my car back like that: full of rubbish and with an empty tank!

We would say, 'that takes nerve' or 'the nerve of him.'
Full Member279
Hi

I say -

'you've got a nerve ..............'

'It takes a lot of nerve .........'

I might use 'you've got a lot of nerve ......' if I was impressed by someone's actions.

'You did a bungee jump - wow - you've got a lot of nerve - I don't think I could ever do that'
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Well, at the risk of repeating myself, I think "The nerve of him!" is 95% pejorative. Also, "You've/He's got a lot of nerve," with the stress on the pronoun is pejorative. With the stress on "nerve," it could be used to heap praise on someone.
There's always the possibility that any such expression can be used tongue-in-cheek in a cute or sarcastic way, not necessarily intended as a criticism.

My New England upbringing exposed me to frequent use of the expression, both with and without "lots of."

I really feel that the "laudatory" examples which each of you has/have included are out of order in relation to the OP. Emotion: smile

Best regards, - A.
Patrick Lockerby "It takes a lot of nerve to work in bomb disposal; or politics."
Hi, Patrick. I once worked at a site way out in the woods where they made the explosive bolts for jet fighter ejection seats, and the explosive deployment devices for automotive airbags. We lost a few guys - not too many. But I never had the nerve to try politics.
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AvangiWell, at the risk of repeating myself, I think "The nerve of him!" is 95% pejorative. Also, "You've/He's got a lot of nerve," with the stress on the pronoun is pejorative. With the stress on "nerve," it could be used to heap praise on someone.
There's always the possibility that any such expression can be used tongue-in-cheek in a cute or sarcastic way, not necessarily intended as a criticism.

My New England upbringing exposed me to frequent use of the expression, both with and without "lots of."

I really feel that the "laudatory" examples which each of you has/have included are out of order in relation to the OP.

Best regards, - A.
Patrick Lockerby "It takes a lot of nerve to work in bomb disposal; or politics."
Hi, Patrick. I once worked at a site way out in the woods where they made the explosive bolts for jet fighter ejection seats, and the explosive deployment devices for automotive airbags. We lost a few guys - not too many. But I never had the nerve to try politics.

Yes, it's mostly used pejoratively.
In the UK, I have heard both 'a nerve' and 'a lot of nerve' about equally.

In expressions such as 'what a nerve' and 'the nerve of it', 'lot of' would not be used.

As for working with explosives, I salute your bravery.
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