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

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 26 Mar. 2023.

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