anxiety

play
noun anx·i·ety \ aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē \

Definition of anxiety

plural anxieties
1 a (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

Examples of anxiety in a Sentence

  1. feelings of anger and anxiety

  2. She suffers from chronic anxiety.

  3. He's been feeling a lot of anxiety about his new job.

Recent Examples of anxiety from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of anxiety

Latin anxietas, from anxius

Synonym Discussion of 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

ANXIETY Defined for English Language Learners

anxiety

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noun

Definition of anxiety for English Language Learners

  • : fear or nervousness about what might happen

  • : a feeling of wanting to do something very much


ANXIETY Defined for Kids

anxiety

play
noun anx·i·ety \ aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē \

Definition of anxiety for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

anxiety

play
noun anx·i·ety \ aŋ-ˈzī-ət-ē \

medical Definition of anxiety

plural anxieties
1 a (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 OchshornParentingFebruary 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 JonesThe New York Times13 Sept. 1994


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