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 Fans of in-person entertainment might seem anxious to return, but early looks can be deceiving. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Investors Should Avoid Crowds Too," 19 May 2020 While Trump’s anxious to resume campaigning, there’s no word on when campaign swings would restart. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Biden campaigns in Florida – from his home in Delaware," 8 May 2020 If either of you is extremely anxious, stick to virtual connection. Claudia Finkelstein, The Conversation, "Is it safe to visit your mother on Mother’s Day? A doctor offers a decision checklist," 7 May 2020 Forced to hear plenty of pundits detailing his team’s demise over the past 11 months, Thompson is anxious to get back on the court and help lead the Warriors to another championship. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warrior guard Klay Thompson’s rehab from torn ACL captured in short film," 6 May 2020 The more than 200,000 dormitory residents are now anxious, bored, isolated and scared. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "Singapore lost control of its coronavirus outbreak, and migrant workers are the victims," 21 Apr. 2020 But scientists are still anxious to watch this rare phenomenon play out over the coming weeks. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why This Rare, Huge Ozone Hole Over the Arctic Is Troubling Scientists," 1 Apr. 2020 Across the city, state, country and world, people are anxious, uncertain, and definitely on edge. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "I’m trying to avoid the pandemic and get work done from home. The problem? Roommates.," 29 Mar. 2020 And if none of this is even remotely persuasive, then please--once their lines are less tied up by the covid-anxious--find a therapist who is a good fit for you, and talk this stuff out. The Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax Live: How to stay upbeat during an outbreak," 18 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for anxious

Time Traveler

The first known use of anxious was in 1548

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Statistics for anxious

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anxious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxious. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for anxious

anxious

adjective
How to pronounce anxious (audio)

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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