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 There are potential pitfalls to using the app for anxiety, though. Jennifer Billock, Wired, "I Battle My Panic Disorder by ‘Mowing’ Virtual Lawns," 4 May 2021 There is hopeful anxiety, wanting that surprise phone call from an NFL team, that emotional welcome to the league of their dreams. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU alum Nick Westbrook-Ikhine knows how to stick in NFL as undrafted free agent," 4 May 2021 Anxiety: Having difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, restlessness and irritability are signs that anxiety may be taking over your life in an unhealthy way, according to the American Psychological Association. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Americans are not getting the mental health treatment they need, report says," 3 May 2021 If some already struggled with anxiety or social issues, quarantine more likely exacerbated those. Jeffrey Bauman, Good Housekeeping, "My Daughter Is 15 — Her Friends Are Getting Vaccinated While She Waits on the Sidelines," 3 May 2021 Read more from Ryan Kost about pandemic anxiety and how experts suggest easing back into normal life. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Briefing: Palo Alto's housing debates heat up," 3 May 2021 Four years of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, depressed refugee admission rates and anxiety among immigrant communities meant fewer people were coming forward to claim unaccompanied minors. Washington Post, "After Trump-era cutbacks and a pandemic, immigrant advocacy groups prepare to meet a rising need," 3 May 2021 Now that the beer is climate-anxiety free, Watt is eyeing more capital to keep up with the surging demand, expanding the firm's distillation process, and broadening its global footprint. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, "BrewDog founders see ‘big gamble’ in global expansion plans—and they like it that way," 1 May 2021 According to a February 2021 report, 40% of Americans had symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders. Jeffrey Zuckerman, Star Tribune, "Mental Health Awareness Month: When a loved one needs help, you need help," 1 May 2021

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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Statistics for anxiety

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anxiety.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on anxiety

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