Nervio

Nervio

I like words with complex or interesting meanings that have no counterparts in English. A few years ago I stumbled across the word Nervio and loved the definition so much that I try to use it whenever I can. Roberto Greco describes it this way:

Shortly after meeting my wife, she introduced me to the nuanced meaning that the Spanish word nervio had acquired in the lexicon of her family. As used in their Chilean home, the word could be defined as a feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection. I have heard others allude to the sensation in seemingly bizarre phrases such as, “It’s so cute [that] I want to squeeze it to death.”

Nervio was a sensation I have felt so many times in my life I was shocked that I had not, up until that point, seen a word that describes it. Nervio brings to mind phrases like, “I’m gonna squeeze you right in two” and, “Oh, I could just eat you with a spoon.” Nervio is why I am constantly threatening to nibble on my children’s toes. It’s a physical and emotional sensation that sits in the gut and wells up through you. The Robert Capa portrait, below, of Pablo Picasso with his son Claude does a good job of depicting the sensation with an image.

Nervio

There has been some psychological research experiments to determine where nervio comes from but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

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