anxious

adjective
anx·​ious | \ ˈaŋ(k)-shəs How to pronounce anxious (audio) \

Definition of anxious

1 : characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency : worried anxious parents
2 : characterized by, resulting from, or causing anxiety : worrying They spent an anxious night.
3 : ardently or earnestly wishing She was anxious to learn more.

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Other Words from anxious

anxiously adverb
anxiousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for anxious

eager, avid, keen, anxious, athirst mean moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest. eager implies ardor and enthusiasm and sometimes impatience at delay or restraint. eager to get started avid adds to eager the implication of insatiability or greed. avid for new thrills keen suggests intensity of interest and quick responsiveness in action. keen on the latest fashions anxious emphasizes fear of frustration or failure or disappointment. anxious not to make a social blunder athirst stresses yearning but not necessarily readiness for action. athirst for adventure

Can anxious Be Used as a Synonym for eager?

The fact that individual words can have multiple senses that are closely related in meaning is something which many people find objectionable about the English language. Anxious is an example of such a word, as people will use it to mean "worried," "eager (but with an undertone of worry)," and simply "eager."

The word has been used in the sense of "eager" for a considerable length of time, with evidence going back at least to the 17th century.

Examples of anxious in a Sentence

… to the eye anxious for reform in the city and forgetful of conditions in the countryside … — Joseph A. Amato, Dust, 2000 He was exhausted yet exhilarated, anxious … about getting on the ice with a team that had a chance to win. — Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, 20 Mar. 2000 The individual states—fearful of losing industry and richer residents to lower-tax rivals and anxious to minimize their burden of needy citizens … Atlantic, May 1997 He was so anxious to get a fly into the water that he had to reproach himself for haste. — John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle, 1957 She feels anxious and depressed. People are anxious about the future. He was anxious that the weather would not improve in time for the party. We experienced a few anxious moments as we waited to hear the results of the test. It was an anxious night as she waited for her children to come home. He was waiting at the door with an anxious expression on his face. He was anxious for more news.
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Recent Examples on the Web Further, the clock is now ticking on its three-year deal with Beyond, which no doubt will be anxious to maximize its McDonald’s relationship. Micheline Maynard, Forbes, "With Chicken Under Its Belt, McDonald’s Moves On To McPlant," 26 Feb. 2021 Aside from supplying his own oysters for Water Street, Lomax is anxious to brand and market his product up and down the coast. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, "Pioneers of Texas' oyster farming industry embrace the challenges," 25 Feb. 2021 But the fear of failure seems to actually be about unknown outcomes, at least for those who are most anxious. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Go Ahead and Fail," 25 Feb. 2021 Black patients — accustomed to having their pain downplayed or dismissed by clinicians — will likely feel more comfortable and less anxious surrounded by people and providers who look like them. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition’s efforts help bring vaccine to community," 25 Feb. 2021 Renee is especially anxious to support the efforts of Balboa Park’s closed Starlight Amphitheater to bring live music back to the park. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Former Miss Universe eyes run for Baja California governor," 22 Feb. 2021 Biden aides tasked with shepherding the president's nominees through their confirmations appear to becoming increasingly anxious over the delays. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden's Cabinet is mostly empty amid Senate bottleneck despite Democratic control," 22 Feb. 2021 But, like his father, Lebedev was anxious to set himself apart. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, "The Dizzying Social Rise of Russian Scion Evgeny Lebedev," 21 Feb. 2021 In the season's fourth episode, five new women join Matt's18 remaining contestants, which makes everyone feel more anxious about getting time with the Bachelor. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "'The Bachelor' recap: Victoria, Anna's mean girl behavior is unbearable to watch," 26 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anxious.' 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 anxious

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anxious

Latin anxius "worried, disturbed, uneasy, marked by or inducing anxiety or distress" (adjective derivative from the base of angere "to choke, cause pain to, afflict, vex") + -ous — more at anger entry 1

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Time Traveler for anxious

Time Traveler

The first known use of anxious was in 1548

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Statistics for anxious

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anxious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxious. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for anxious

anxious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of anxious

: afraid or nervous especially about what may happen : feeling anxiety
: causing or showing fear or nervousness
: wanting or eager to do or have something very much especially because of fear or nervousness

anxious

adjective
anx·​ious | \ ˈaŋk-shəs How to pronounce anxious (audio) \

Kids Definition of anxious

1 : afraid or nervous about what may happen The parents were anxious about the child's health.
2 : causing or showing fear or nervousness an anxious moment
3 : wanting very much : eager She is anxious to get home.

Other Words from anxious

anxiously adverb Her parents waited anxiously for her.

anxious

adjective
anx·​ious | \ ˈaŋ(k)-shəs How to pronounce anxious (audio) \

Medical Definition of anxious

1 : characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency anxious students
2 : characterized by, resulting from, or causing anxiety an anxious time in the hospital waiting room

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Comments on anxious

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