anxiety

noun
anx·i·ety | \aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē \
plural anxieties

Definition of anxiety 

1a(1) : apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill : a state of being anxious More Buddhist uprisings in South Vietnam in the spring of 1966 intensified my anxiety.— Robert S. McNamara I felt my anxiety rise as we pressed deeper underground.— Jon Krakauer

(2) medical : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it

b : mentally distressing concern or interest Yet the pace of a child's progress can also be a source of anxiety for mothers and fathers.— Susan Ochshorn

c : a strong desire sometimes mixed with doubt, fear, or uneasiness … his anxiety to succeed and his continued nervousness over the possible bankruptcy of his shoe company caused her to lecture him about relaxing and caring for his health.— William Drake … present a gamble that consumers, in their anxiety to make an affordable deal, do not always appreciate.— Stephen Koepp

2 : a cause of anxiety … citizens stressed by gnawing economic and social anxieties.— Michael Pertschuk

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for anxiety

care, concern, solicitude, anxiety, worry mean a troubled or engrossed state of mind or the thing that causes this. care implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension. a face worn by years of care concern implies a troubled state of mind because of personal interest, relation, or affection. crimes caused concern in the neighborhood solicitude implies great concern and connotes either thoughtful or hovering attentiveness toward another. acted with typical maternal solicitude anxiety stresses anguished uncertainty or fear of misfortune or failure. plagued by anxiety and self-doubt worry suggests fretting over matters that may or may not be real cause for anxiety. financial worries

Examples of anxiety in a Sentence

feelings of anger and anxiety She suffers from chronic anxiety. He's been feeling a lot of anxiety about his new job.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The initial euphoria in Thailand and around the world that all 13 people had been found alive has given way four days later to deep anxiety over the challenge of getting them out. Richard C. Paddock, BostonGlobe.com, "Thai cave rescue will be a murky, desperate ordeal, divers say," 6 July 2018 Fear and anxiety competed with hope and gratitude for space inside Lexie’s head. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Operating on Danny Farquhar's brain didn't change what was in White Sox pitcher's heart," 12 July 2018 Attentive nurturing, feeding and grooming can reduce stress and anxiety and enhance psychological wellbeing. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA," 10 July 2018 Influenced by the artist Mort Meskin, a specialist in mood and noirish textures, Mr. Ditko had infused his pre-Charlton work with a sweaty anxiety and recurrent motifs of paranoia. Andy Webster, New York Times, "Steve Ditko, Influential Comic-Book Artist Who Helped Create Spider-Man, Dies at 90," 7 July 2018 Marshall said his wife suffered major depressive disorder and anxiety. CBS News, "Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall recalls final call with wife before her suicide," 29 June 2018 Having battled anxiety and depression most of his life, Sparks, 60, was happy to find a genetic test to help his psychiatrist better direct his treatment. Courtenay Harris Bond, Philly.com, "Which antidepressant is right for you? This genetic test could help," 11 July 2018 Neuroticism — a tendency toward negative emotions — has been linked to anxiety and moodiness, and multiple studies have also found a connection between higher levels of the trait and high disgust sensitivity. Cari Romm, The Cut, "What Your Ability to Handle Pimple-Popping Videos Says About You," 11 July 2018 But despite countless ups and downs, Turner has dedicated his life to helping others – which in turn, has helped him fend off bouts of anxiety and depression connected to his PTSD. Emilie Ikeda, Fox News, "WWII veteran, 96, works through PTSD by helping military children," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anxiety.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of anxiety

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for anxiety

Latin anxietas, from anxius

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anxiety

Statistics for anxiety

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anxiety

The first known use of anxiety was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for anxiety

anxiety

noun

English Language Learners Definition of anxiety

: fear or nervousness about what might happen

: a feeling of wanting to do something very much

anxiety

noun
anx·i·ety | \aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē \
plural anxieties

Kids Definition of anxiety

: fear or nervousness about what might happen Tests cause many people anxiety.

anxiety

noun
anx·i·ety | \aŋ-ˈzī-ət-ē \
plural anxieties

Medical Definition of anxiety 

1a(1) : apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill : a state of being anxious

(2) : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it

b : mentally distressing concern or interest Yet the pace of a child's progress can also be a source of anxiety for mothers and fathers.— Susan Ochshorn, Parenting, February 1995

2 : a cause of anxiety … the younger children, faced with a new school, harder subjects and the myriad anxieties that thread childhood and adolescence …— Charisse Jones, The New York Times, 13 Sept. 1994

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on anxiety

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!