anxiety

noun
anx·​i·​ety | \ aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē How to pronounce anxiety (audio) \
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This play articulates that really well—the anxiety of not knowing. Jason Zinoman, Vogue, "In Burn This, Adam Driver and Keri Russell Find Love in a Hopeless Place," 15 Apr. 2019 Despite that realization, Oliver has felt her own share of anxiety about getting older. Jazmine Hughes, Marie Claire, "With Her First Wives Club Reboot, Tracy Oliver Is Running the Show," 26 Mar. 2019 They were told that students in another location would be asked to rate their physical attractiveness—essentially creating a state of social anxiety. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: Tetris is a great distraction for easing an anxious mind," 2 Nov. 2018 For the kind and honest person who found my purse in a grocery cart in the parking lot of Safeway and turned it in to the store, saving me from lots of anxiety and from having to replace my phone, credit cards and identification. Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Thanks for turning in lost purse," 16 Oct. 2018 Regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, and getting good amounts of sleep (about 8 to ten hours a night) will help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, Hibbs says. Eileen Reslen, Seventeen, "3 Vital Tips for College Students Who Are Struggling With Mental Health," 10 Oct. 2018 That led to a lot of anxiety among investors and supporters when the early numbers fell dramatically short. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The Agility, Persistence, and Pain Behind Tesla’s Model 3 Manufacturing Turnaround," 1 July 2018 According to The National Sleep Foundation people experiencing insomnia are 10 times as likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety. Sarah Wu, Teen Vogue, "Glamorizing Sleep Deprivation Ruined My Health in Every Way," 15 Mar. 2019 Julia Roberts in ‘Homecoming’ Photo: Amazon Prime Video Homecoming (Amazon Prime) This 10-part thriller is remarkable for its anxiety-inducing capacity as well as its character, which is full of heart. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "The Best TV of 2018: Departures and Arrivals," 17 Dec. 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.

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First Known Use of anxiety

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

History and Etymology for anxiety

Latin anxietas, from anxius

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Learn More about anxiety

Statistics for anxiety

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anxiety

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

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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 How to pronounce anxiety (audio) \
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 How to pronounce anxiety (audio) \
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

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