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adjective anx·ious \ˈaŋ(k)-shəs\

Simple Definition of anxious

  • : afraid or nervous especially about what may happen : feeling anxiety

  • : causing or showing fear or nervousness

  • : wanting or eager to do or have something very much especially because of fear or nervousness

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of anxious

  1. 1 :  characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency :  worried <anxious parents>

  2. 2 :  characterized by, resulting from, or causing anxiety :  worrying <an anxious night>

  3. 3 :  ardently or earnestly wishing <anxious to learn more>

anxiously adverb
anxiousness noun

Examples of anxious in a sentence

  1. … to the eye anxious for reform in the city and forgetful of conditions in the countryside … —Joseph A. Amato, Dust, 2000

  2. He was exhausted yet exhilarated, anxious … about getting on the ice with a team that had a chance to win. —Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, 20 Mar. 2000

  3. The individual states—fearful of losing industry and richer residents to lower-tax rivals and anxious to minimize their burden of needy citizens … —Atlantic, May 1997

  4. He was so anxious to get a fly into the water that he had to reproach himself for haste. —John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle, 1957

  5. She feels anxious and depressed.

  6. People are anxious about the future.

  7. He was anxious that the weather would not improve in time for the party.

  8. We experienced a few anxious moments as we waited to hear the results of the test.

  9. It was an anxious night as she waited for her children to come home.

  10. He was waiting at the door with an anxious expression on his face.

  11. He was anxious for more news.

Can anxious Be Used as a Synonym for eager?

The fact that individual words can have multiple senses that are closely related in meaning is something which many people find objectionable about the English language. Anxious is an example of such a word, as people will use it to mean "worried," "eager (but with an undertone of worry)," and simply "eager."

The word has been used in the sense of "eager" for a considerable length of time, with evidence going back at least to the 17th century.

Origin of anxious

Latin anxius; akin to Latin angere to strangle, distress — more at anger

First Known Use: circa 1616

Synonym Discussion of anxious

eager, avid, keen, anxious, athirst mean moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest. eager implies ardor and enthusiasm and sometimes impatience at delay or restraint <eager to get started>. avid adds to eager the implication of insatiability or greed <avid for new thrills>. keen suggests intensity of interest and quick responsiveness in action <keen on the latest fashions>. anxious emphasizes fear of frustration or failure or disappointment <anxious not to make a social blunder>. athirst stresses yearning but not necessarily readiness for action <athirst for adventure>.

ANXIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective anx·ious \ˈaŋk-shəs\

Definition of anxious for Students

  1. 1 :  afraid or nervous about what may happen <The parents were anxious about the child's health.>

  2. 2 :  causing or showing fear or nervousness <an anxious moment>

  3. 3 :  wanting very much :  eager <She is anxious to get home.>

anxiously adverb <Her parents waited anxiously for her.>

Medical Dictionary


adjective anx·ious \ˈaŋ(k)-shəs\

Medical Definition of anxious

  1. 1:  characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency <anxious students>

  2. 2:  characterized by, resulting from, or causing anxiety <an anxious time in the hospital waiting room>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up anxious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to expose to danger or risk

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