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 As far as the upcoming debut of Duo Kettő, Pongracz is uncharacteristically anxious. John Benson, cleveland, "Silenced Lakewood freelance musician one of many struggling during pandemic," 23 Oct. 2020 As Menna’s arrest made local headlines, Cleveland was anxious but pleased. Cara Kelly, USA Today, "He posed as a doctor and a wilderness expert. Behind the facade was an accused child molester.," 22 Oct. 2020 Excited, and perhaps a little anxious, said Beth Buck, the OSIRIS-REx mission operations program manager for Lockheed Martin Space. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Today’s the big day for NASA’s mission that seeks to pluck asteroid dust," 20 Oct. 2020 Many lined up before daybreak, anxious to get their ballots cast — undeterred by the weather, which ranged from heavy downpours to light sprinkles throughout the region. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, "Rain isn’t keeping voters away from first day of early voting in South Florida," 19 Oct. 2020 That was up from a 7.2% contraction in the first half as consumers, already anxious about a slowing economy and a tariff war with Washington, put off buying. Joe Mcdonald, The Christian Science Monitor, "China's economy bounces back as consumers resume spending," 19 Oct. 2020 Now, with voters appearing increasingly anxious to have that role filled, his time on center stage may be running out. David Lauter Washington Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times, "About last night: Trump, Biden debate long distance," 16 Oct. 2020 Edwards was anxious heading into his first MLS start, and then Cordrey’s mother gave the goalkeeper a photograph of her son playing soccer. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "New FC Cincinnati goalkeeper dedicates first MLS win to Taylor high school athlete's family," 15 Oct. 2020 While Trump is anxious to accelerate the U.S. exit from Afghanistan after 19 years of fighting, the Taliban has stepped up its offensive against Lashkar Gah, a key city in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Trump reportedly considering major policy address to announce additional troop drawdown before Election Day," 15 Oct. 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 "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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Statistics for anxious

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anxious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxious. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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Comments on anxious

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