anxious

adjective
anx·​ious | \ˈaŋ(k)-shəs \

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

Transformative justice requires conversation and slowing down, often when people are anxious for action. Kim Tran, Teen Vogue, "Transformative Justice, Explained," 15 Nov. 2018 What good is a public space if people are too anxious to use it? Diana Budds, Curbed, "Facial recognition is becoming one of the 21st century’s biggest public space issues," 19 Oct. 2018 This #mamabear was anxious leaving the kiddos but enjoying reconnecting with my love. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Tori Spelling Says Her 15-Month-Old Son Beau Was 'Stabbed' by Nails at the Four Seasons Hotel," 10 July 2018 The Vixen gets hard-pressed for the truth When season 10 started off, fans were anxious to see more drama than on season 9. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "10 of the Best Reads in 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Herstory," 2 July 2018 The man is the embodiment of nearly everything that Democratic primary voters are anxious to vote against: A white male billionaire – with no political experience – who opposes universal health-care and supports entitlement cuts. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Must Reject Howard Schultz and His Radical Centrist Ideology," 6 June 2018 Further Reading Study: Tetris is a great distraction for easing an anxious mind Enhance Games' recent Tetris press tour included stories about the series' hypnotic effect on the human brain, whether via anecdotes or formal research. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Tetris Effect review: The puzzle game of my dreams—literally," 9 Nov. 2018 The involvement of criminal organizations makes Mexico even more anxious to crack down. Dara Lind, Vox, "The migrant caravan, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 In fact, so spectacular, that fans of the show seem super anxious to get involved and vote for their favorites. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Dancing With the Stars Juniors' Fans Have Strong Feelings About the Fact That You Can't Vote," 21 Oct. 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

6 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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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