Impatient, nervous, unquiet, restless, restive, uneasy, fidgety, jumpy, jittery are comparable when they mean manifesting signs of unrest or an inability to keep still or quiet.
Impatient implies an inability to bear some trial (as delay, opposition, discomfort, or stupidity) with composure; it therefore connotes, as a rule, not physical but mental or emotional unrest and may suggest unrestrained reactions (as of eagerness, irritableness, brusqueness, testiness, or intolerance).
Nervous implies unsteadiness of nerves and a proneness to excitability.
Unquiet, though basically meaning no more than not quiet, is usually used with a strong implication of prolonged or conspicuous agitation or of troubling or disturbing distractions that hinder one’s peace of mind or spirit or prevent concentration; the word is applicable both to the person and to the thing which troubles him.
Restless usually implies constant and more or less aimless motion or activity; often, specifically, it connotes mental agitation or eagerness to change or continuous or unceasing movements to and fro or back and forth.
Restive (see also CONTRARY 2 ), which once meant unwilling to move, has gradually become a synonym of restless. In this sense it implies impatience under attempts to restrain, to control, or, especially, to keep attentive and suggests either inability to keep still or to persist in what one is doing.
Uneasy usually implies restlessness born of anxiety, doubt, uncertainty, or insecurity.
Fidgety implies restless movements resulting from nervousness, boredom, or uneasiness of mind; it usually suggests an inability to keep one’s hands, feet, or body still or to settle down to a task or occupation.
Jumpy and jittery imply extreme nervousness that exhibits itself in tremulous, uncertain movements.
Jumpy , however, usually suggests a fearful or apprehensive mood and lack of control over one’s temper as well as over one’s muscles.
Jittery suggests domination not only by fears but by recollections that destroy one’s nervous control and impair one’s mental stability.