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.

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The rain made Jack nervous, which made Lacey anxious. Kelly Wilkinson, The Indianapolis Star, 12 May 2022 In interviews, former clerks described feeling anxious to the point of paranoia about being suspected of talking to a reporter. New York Times, 8 May 2022 The car didn’t even make it to their destination, and Megan described a mob scene of police cars and helicopters greeting them, which made the rapper even more anxious. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 25 Apr. 2022 That made consumers nervous about spending and investors anxious about possible defaults by developers. Joe Mcdonald, ajc, 18 Apr. 2022 Feeling anxious or going into panic happens when your system tips past the zero mark into a stress response. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 5 Apr. 2022 Maverick County Constable Albert De La Torre said people living in Eagle Pass have been anxious. Fox News, 5 May 2022 Additionally, the energy-boosting effect can make some people feel more anxious, Gold said. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Jackie Frere, Woman's Day, 3 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near anxious

anxiolytic

anxious

anxious bench

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Statistics for anxious

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anxious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxious. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for anxious

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on anxious

Nglish: Translation of anxious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anxious for Arabic Speakers

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