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adjective ap·pre·hen·sive \ˌa-pri-ˈhen(t)-siv\

Simple Definition of apprehensive

  • : afraid that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen : feeling or showing fear or apprehension about the future

Full Definition of apprehensive

  1. 1 :  capable of understanding or quick to do so :  discerning

  2. 2 :  having awareness or knowledge of something :  cognizant

  3. 3 :  viewing the future with anxiety or alarm

ap·pre·hen·sive·ly adverb
ap·pre·hen·sive·ness noun

Examples of apprehensive

  1. When the Crossroads Rhode Island social services agency switched to a 401(k) retirement plan from a pension last year, it added a feature that made some employees apprehensive. To ensure that as many employees as possible saved for retirement, the Providence nonprofit chose to automatically enroll all its workers into the 401(k) plan and deduct a minimum of 4 percent from their paychecks. —Andrew Caffrey, Boston Sunday Globe, 2 Oct. 2005

  2. … Sargent, a shrewder character, was apprehensive about how the portrait would be viewed by the conventional crowds for whom a day out at the Salon was a social fixture in the Paris calendar. He was right. The public saw nothing lovely in this pallid, long- nosed woman with her prominent chin and superior smile. —Miranda Seymour, New York Times Book Review, 28 Sept. 2003

  3. I arrived at my first Lamaze class the same way I showed up for my baby showers and ob-gyn appointments: a little excited, a little apprehensive, but mostly obediently, because it's what you're supposed to do when you're pregnant. —Paula Spencer, Parenting, April 1997

  4. When it was a relatively new technology, many people eschewed air travel for fear of a crash. Even now, when aviation relies on a well-established technology, many adults who do not think twice about the risks of driving an automobile are apprehensive about flying. —Henry Petroski, To Engineer Is Human, 1992

  5. <I'm fully apprehensive of the options, I assure you.>

Origin of apprehensive

(see apprehension)

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of apprehensive

fearful, apprehensive, afraid mean disturbed by fear. fearful implies often a timorous or worrying temperament <the child is fearful of loud noises>. apprehensive suggests a state of mind and implies a premonition of evil or danger <apprehensive of being found out>. afraid often suggests weakness or cowardice and regularly implies inhibition of action or utterance <afraid to speak the truth>.

Rhymes with apprehensive

Seen and Heard

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


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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