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

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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

At one point, her doctors at the VA had her taking 22 pills to help her sleep and quell her depression and anxiety. Julia Belluz, Vox, "More pregnant women are using marijuana. We don’t know if that’s safe.," 20 Nov. 2018 College students in general are reporting more depression and anxiety than ever. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "College Sports’ Newest Need: Psychologists," 8 Nov. 2018 Maybe like a 13- or 14-year-old female who's presenting with depression or anxiety. Kayleigh Roberts, Allure, "Why Women With ADHD Like Me Get Diagnosed So Late in Adulthood," 25 Oct. 2018 Mild cognitive impairments like memory problems, for example, could be attributed to conditions such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Selma Blair 'Thought Was a Pinched Nerve' Turned Out to Be MS," 22 Oct. 2018 Sarah had told colleagues that Jen struggled with depression and anxiety, and often stayed in bed to cry. Lauren Smiley, Glamour, "Two White Moms. Six Black Kids. One Unthinkable Tragedy. A Look Inside the ‘Perfect’ Hart Family," 6 Sep. 2018 Some mental health problems, like depression or severe anxiety, warrant the help of a trained professional, so make a plan to speak to your school counselor, a pediatrician, or a therapist. Andrea Stanley, Seventeen, "Here's How To Know If You're Depressed," 8 June 2018 Photo: Cornerstone For some employees, having their parents wandering around their offices is profoundly anxiety-inducing. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Cornering Your Boss, Snapping Pictures at Your Desk: It’s Take Your Parents to Work Day," 12 Nov. 2018 Recently, scientific researchers have shown in clinical settings that mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as pain. Eliza Barclay, Vox, "The growth of yoga and meditation in the US since 2012 is remarkable," 11 Nov. 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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Statistics for anxiety

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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 \
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

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Comments on anxiety

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