anxiety attack


plural anxiety attacks
: 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

Examples of anxiety attack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the drugs and adrenaline wore off, doctors said, there were night terrors, anxiety attacks, tantrums. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2024 That woman ran out of the room, probably having her own anxiety attack. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 The Lopez family is back home now, albeit living amid a construction zone, showering at a neighbor’s house and having anxiety attacks at the thought of rain. Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times, 18 Dec. 2023 Maksym, who has attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has struggled to cope and has been having anxiety attacks, said his mother, Maryna Honcharova. Maria Varenikova, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2023 An anxiety attack and general stress can trigger flares. Adrienne Dellwo, Verywell Health, 18 Sep. 2023 One visual effects artist, who worked 64-hour weeks, told Vulture that the bids often led to understaffed projects, with some workers experiencing mental breakdowns and anxiety attacks. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 16 Aug. 2023 Other examples of tasks include providing guidance for people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf or calming a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2023 The two incidents happening in tandem with each other resulted in anxiety attacks years later, which kicked in every time Cyrus had to perform. Zack Sharf, Variety, 6 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anxiety attack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably after German Angstanfall or Angstattacke

First Known Use

1911, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of anxiety attack was in 1911

Dictionary Entries Near anxiety attack

Cite this Entry

“Anxiety attack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

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