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

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 The judge noted the mental deterioration of both boys during their detainment, citing a psychologist’s report that said both boys suffered from severe anxiety and depression and had begun harming themselves and others. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "Judge orders Brazilian boys reunited with fathers, calls government decision to separate them ‘arbitrary and conscience shocking’," 10 July 2018 The present global explosion of anxiety and hate is unlike anything most of us have ever witnessed. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 Positive feedback tends to engender positive motivations, which draw on imagination and confidence; negative feedback engenders negative motivations, which draw on anxiety and fear. David Roberts, Vox, "Please don’t spank your kids," 3 July 2018 Jeremy Pettit, an expert in depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior at Florida International University, told el Nuevo Herald that murder-suicides are primarily a societal and public health problem, not a policing or criminal one. Johanna A. Álvarez, miamiherald, "Florida among top states for murder-suicides," 2 July 2018 And in that time, anxiety and depression have skyrocketed. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Leave No Trace' star Ben Foster: 'You can fake chemistry'," 29 June 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

22 Sep 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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