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

In a revival of the large-scale violence that has afflicted the exhausted and anxious Afghan capital, a suicide attacker set off his bomb near the entrance of the telecommunications ministry, the Interior Ministry... Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Large-Scale Assault Hits Afghan Capital After Relative Lull, 10 Dead," 20 Apr. 2019 Some are understandably anxious about vulnerability to hacking and cyberattacks, power grid failures, and outages in banking networks—like the one that hit Visa’s payment systems in Europe last June. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 Some people are wondering if Miley will also make a change to her appearance (like maybe a new hair color), while others are just anxious for what could be new music around the corner. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Fans Theorize About Why Miley Cyrus Deleted Her Instagrams," 15 July 2018 Alex is anxious about the move, resisting the urge to label her son at such a young age. Randy Cordova, azcentral, "In 'A Kid Like Jake,' Claire Danes and Jim Parsons struggle with son's gender identity," 14 June 2018 Since Trump's March 22 executive order to institute tariffs on as much as $60 billion in Chinese imports, mostly aeronautics, modern rail, new-energy vehicles and high-technology products, Republicans from agricultural states have been anxious. Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "Sen. John Kennedy wants Chinese crawfish and shrimp on the trade tariff menu," 18 Apr. 2018 Drug agents across Kentucky have been anxious to see the task force back in action. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "How a McDonald's receipt crippled an elite Louisville drug-fighting team," 18 June 2018 Other swaths of teens report feeling lonelier, more anxious, and more depressed when using social media. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: China goes after its Muslim population," 13 Sep. 2018 Lowes, 36, will play the adorably anxious and desperately single waitress Dawn — with Shapiro as the eccentric (and persistent) Ogie, courting her. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Scandal's Katie Lowes and Husband Adam Shapiro Will Costar in Broadway's Waitress," 11 July 2018

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; akin to Latin angere to strangle, distress — more at anger

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Statistics for anxious

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anxious

The first known use of anxious was in 1548

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on anxious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for anxious

Spanish Central: Translation of anxious

Nglish: Translation of anxious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anxious for Arabic Speakers

Comments on anxious

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