anxiety

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

Essential Meaning of anxiety

1 : fear or nervousness about what might happen feelings of anger and anxiety She suffers from chronic/acute anxiety. See More ExamplesHe suffers from test anxiety. [=excessive fear about taking tests] He's been feeling a lot of anxiety about/over his new job.Hide
2 : a feeling of wanting to do something very much She has always had an anxiety to succeed. [=she has always been anxious to succeed]

Full 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

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Flight attendants are asking passengers to be nice in the air and on the ground ahead of what could be an anxiety-inducing holiday travel season. Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Nov. 2021 Answering a call from a number a person doesn’t recognize can be anxiety-producing for anyone. Nubyjas Wilborn | Nwilborn@al.com, al, 17 Nov. 2021 Between frequent anxiety attacks and threatening rival gangs, there's a lot Tony must deal with in order to survive. Skyler Caruso, PEOPLE.com, 9 Nov. 2021 That can be further improved by letting candidates practice and even re-record their answers, rather than holding an anxiety-inducing live interview. Nicole Kobie, Wired, 1 Nov. 2021 There should be a separate category for anxiety-inducing novels. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 25 Oct. 2021 Many people find such intense looking to be vulnerable, awkward and sometimes anxiety-producing. Anna Pulley, chicagotribune.com, 11 Oct. 2021 These drugs block sweating that occurs due to anxiety-provoking situations, says the IHS. Cathy Cassata, Health.com, 5 Nov. 2021 That’s logical and important: One of the biggest hurdles to the adoption of electric vehicles is anxiety over range. Gregory Barber, Wired, 2 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for anxiety

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

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Dictionary Entries Near anxiety

anvil cloud

anxiety

anxiety attack

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Statistics for anxiety

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anxiety.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for anxiety

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

More from Merriam-Webster on anxiety

Nglish: Translation of anxiety for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anxiety for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anxiety

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