anxiety attack

noun
plural anxiety attacks

Definition of anxiety attack

: a sudden feeling or episode of anxiety specifically : an episode of mild to severe worry, distress, or fear that may last for hours or days, is typically preceded by a period of gradually increasing levels of fear and worry (such as that associated with a perceived stressor or threat), and that has symptoms (such as increased heart rate and shortness of breath) similar to but often less intense than those associated with a panic attack … the odds of coming across someone in college having an anxiety attack are fairly high. — Alisa Patience The mention of any political figure in the vicinity of my dining room table is enough to induce an anxiety attack. — Anna Little I remember getting ready to do the buffet scene on the lawn, and for some reason I got an anxiety attack. I could hardly move. I was terrified. — Jack Nicholson

First Known Use of anxiety attack

1911, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anxiety attack

probably after German Angstanfall or Angstattacke

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anxiety attack

Time Traveler for anxiety attack

Time Traveler

The first known use of anxiety attack was in 1911

See more words from the same year

Statistics for anxiety attack

Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anxiety attack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety%20attack. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Comments on anxiety attack

What made you want to look up anxiety attack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!