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

For the past month, Brookline has been embroiled in an emotional debate over whether kindergarten has become too academically demanding, causing anxiety levels of 5- and 6-year-olds to climb. James Vaznis, BostonGlobe.com, "In Brookline, there’s a worry that kindergarten has lost its joy," 9 July 2019 But for the first-time mom-to-be, all those new twinges and aches—from low belly pain to right side pain—can be confusing, anxiety-inducing, and often, pretty scary. Felissa Allard, SELF, "These Are The Pregnancy Pains You Shouldn’t Ignore," 8 July 2019 There are moments that send anxiety levels spiking. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Taking back control: A year later, Capital Gazette shooting survivors putting their lives, hearts back together," 28 June 2019 In the pilot episode of Euphoria, Rue is shown having anxiety attacks and exhibiting symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Cory Stieg, refinery29.com, "The Truth About The Fentanyl Scene In Euphoria," 25 June 2019 Amabella was suffering an anxiety attack after learning about sustainability and climate change. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Big Little Lies season 2, episode 3 recap: Hail Renata, the Medusa of Monterey," 24 June 2019 But other influencing factors are nearly impossible to control for, like chronic mental-health problems, food anxiety, and genetics. Christine Byrne, Outside Online, "Are Eggs Bad for You? The Verdict Is Still Out.," 15 June 2019 Researchers in Sweden found that dogs’ anxiety levels rose along with those of their humans, implying that the pets are highly attuned to their human companions’ moods. Maddie Burakoff, Smithsonian, "Keep Calm and Don’t Stress Out the Dog," 7 June 2019 This time, the stranger is a baby, whom Max learns to love unconditionally but who also ups his anxiety levels. Mark Kennedy, Houston Chronicle, "‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ is a well-crafted sequel," 6 June 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

14 Jul 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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