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 Ronald Reagan, who at 69 in 1981 was the oldest president to take office to that point, allayed much of the anxiety about his age and stamina by empowering his Cabinet and his first chief of staff, James A. Baker III. Eli Stokols Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "On Biden’s to-do list: Blunt the talk that he enters the presidency as a lame duck," 23 Nov. 2020 The Wolverines do just enough to secure their second victory but fail to alleviate the anxiety that is wracking their fan base. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football predictions vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Watch out, Wolverines," 22 Nov. 2020 The anxiety over Thanksgiving comes as the country continues breaking coronavirus records, with over 198,500 cases announced in a single day on Friday, and more than 82,000 people hospitalized. New York Times, "Coronavirus Upends Thanksgiving for Many, While Others Ignore Warnings," 22 Nov. 2020 Some people are sufficiently disciplined to follow the method of organizing guru Marie Kondo, who believes that eliminating clutter reduces anxiety and instills tranquility in your life. Thomas Heath, Washington Post, "After reimagining apartment storage units, Bradyl Storage Solutions bloomed," 21 Nov. 2020 At its worst, the first wave produced a third of the patients that hospitals are now admitting, but the uncertainty and mystery surrounding COVID-19 at that time raised anxiety. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "'No beds anywhere': Minnesota hospitals strained to limit by COVID-19," 21 Nov. 2020 The annual feast is further complicated because of the troubled economy, giving millions of Americans anxiety about their finances. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "How to make your Thanksgiving meal for cheap or (practically) free," 21 Nov. 2020 Even those who are not experiencing pressing financial or mental health issues face a constant barrage of news and social media feeds that can increase anxiety and exacerbate mental health problems, Youssef said. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The COVID-19 pandemic may be deepening Milwaukee County's mental health crisis but providers see a glimmer of hope," 21 Nov. 2020 That merely heightens anxiety, because there is no benefit to fixating on hair loss. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "You're Not Imagining It: The Pandemic Is Triggering Stress-Induced Hair Loss," 20 Nov. 2020

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

Middle English anxiete, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French anxieté, borrowed from Latin anxietāt-, anxietās "apprehensive uneasiness, worry, solicitude," from anxius "worried, disturbed, anxious" + -etāt-, -etās, variant of -itāt-, -tās -ity

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Learn More about anxiety

Time Traveler for anxiety

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for anxiety

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anxiety.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for anxiety

anxiety

noun
How to pronounce anxiety (audio)

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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Comments on anxiety

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