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

Despite her ties to home, Rose-Lynn is anxious to leave Glasgow and become a country star in Nashville. Emily Zemler, latimes.com, "How country music crosses borders in Scottish indie ‘Wild Rose’," 24 June 2019 Alondra tells us she gets anxious about imposing on people. Leila Atassi, cleveland.com, "Alondra Rivera teeters on the brink of homelessness, when her mother threatens to cut her from the lease: A Greater Cleveland," 5 June 2019 So there are four little faces at the back of the photo — us — and others who were a bit more anxious to be noticed, a bit more keen to try to achieve the limelight and push their way to the front. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull bites the bullet for 50th anniversary tour," 30 June 2019 That may sound a tad hyperbolic, but Merrilee was definitely anxious going into the evening. Washington Post, "Date Lab: She wanted him to ask more questions," 27 June 2019 Democrats, the Washington Post recently told us, are frustrated—even a bit anxious—that their ambitious policy agenda is failing to attract the notice of the public. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "Cory Booker Chooses the Wrong Side in a New Jersey Street Fight," 26 June 2019 Also, 65 percent were anxious that an offer would fall through and 65 percent were concerned about fixing up their home for sale. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, "You’ll never guess how many people cry when selling their home," 25 June 2019 Menstruation sets off sexuality, and girls at this precipice are understandably anxious over what is to come, bodies bleeding monthly, opening up in childbirth, and eventually decaying with age. Longreads, "Demonology: A Woman’s Right to Fury," 10 June 2019 The kids were anxious to go on an excursion to the nearby state fish hatchery with members of the Christian Singles Network group, of which Allyn, who was divorced from the children’s mother, was a member. Miles Blumhardt, The Denver Post, "Jaryd Atadero disappeared on hike near Fort Collins 20 years ago. His father has been looking for answers ever since.," 9 June 2019

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

19 Jul 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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