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

Financial markets around the globe have been whipsawed by anxiety over the US-China trade war, sending investors fleeing from stocks to the safety of bonds and pushing bond interest-rates to record lows. BostonGlobe.com, "April strike cost Stop & Shop $345m in net sales," 9 Aug. 2019 Nestled in the foothills of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the bustling Seattle suburb of Issaquah seems an unlikely candidate for anxiety over wildfires. Tom James, The Seattle Times, "U.S. Northwest towns ‘woefully unprepared’ as fire risk grows," 5 Aug. 2019 But the ability to know another person's whereabouts at all times doesn't jibe well with a penchant for anxiety. Wired Staff, WIRED, "From Robots to E-Scooters, All the Things We Loved This Month," 31 July 2019 Last week, after much anxiety over the fate of nearly 4 million historic photographs, those archives were sold at auction for $30 million to a consortium of the nation’s leading private foundations. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "Why Ebony Magazine’s Archives Were Saved," 31 July 2019 Anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, as a result, attributed many lynchings to white anxiety over black economic progress. Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, Twin Cities, "Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey: Why now is the moment to atone for 400 years of racism," 28 July 2019 This internationally best-selling author is back with a provocative and compelling novel that's technically fiction but discusses a topic most can relate to: anxiety over our waistlines. Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored, "These Amazon best-selling books are the ultimate beach reads," 25 July 2019 Few things unite Nigeria’s middle classes like anxiety over international visa application processes—and none more so than for the United States. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Trump’s clampdown on US visas for Nigerians is cultivating fear—and “fake news”," 17 July 2019 Barry brings reminders and anxiety for Houston flood victims The chances for rain are more unclear. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Tropical Storm Barry may bring gusty winds, thunderstorms to the Houston area this weekend," 12 July 2019

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

11 Aug 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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Comments on anxiety

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