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.
Recent Examples on the Web Offsite moments offered a respite from anxiety and sterile environments. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, 16 May 2022 In 2021, the Japanese star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open citing a long battle with anxiety and depression, exacerbated by the constant scrutiny that success had brought her. Simon Willis, Fortune, 14 May 2022 Regular check-ins can also reduce anxiety and the loneliness that isolation can bring. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, 13 May 2022 Psychiatrist Henry Cotton wondered if infections could cause psychosis, depression, anxiety and other disorders. Richard J. Mcnally, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Helplines are designed for non-urgent needs, such as those seeking support and resources for depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. Byadjoa Smalls-mantey, ABC News, 13 May 2022 Women also shouldered much of the extra child care duties and responsibilities when schools shut down, which in turn caused more stress, anxiety and burnout for women. Joy Altimare, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Stress, anxiety and fear caused many in recovery to relapse. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, 12 May 2022 Some people may feel more relaxed, while others may experience less anxiety and stress. The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 May 2022 See More

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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Learn More About anxiety

Time Traveler for anxiety

Time Traveler

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

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anxiety.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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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
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

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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