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.

Keep scrolling for 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

According to the Federal Reserve, 65 percent of Americans regularly carry cash, perhaps because, as one recent consumer survey found, not having money in our wallets makes most of us anxious. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 Knowing she is not good at hiding things from Jamie, Claire is anxious and distracted during a meal. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 10," 7 Jan. 2019 This made China's scientific community anxious to bring the country in line with international perspectives on this work. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Scientists, ethicists slam decisions behind gene-edited twins," 30 Nov. 2018 Peterson isn’t the only one who listens to anxious, angry young people talk about their problems. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 July 2018 Or, even better, recruit a replacement workforce from among the Eastern Shore’s disaffected and economically anxious who made this presidency possible. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Real-time buses, asphalt aspirations, unconventional wisdom," 22 June 2018 This has the weed transport industry equal parts excited and anxious. Nick Stockton, WIRED, "California Rules May Make Weed Shippers Report Themselves to the Feds," 13 May 2018 With the audition rounds of America's Got Talent coming to a close, fans were anxious to see who would earn the final Golden Buzzer. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'America's Got Talent' Contestant Makayla Phillips Earns Golden Buzzer and Fans Are Furious," 11 July 2018 Important update for anyone anxious to get more clues and spoilers for The Masked Singer: The show's host, Nick Cannon, revealed some more information about who the Lion is. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "This Fan Theory About Who the Lion Is on 'The Masked Singer' Is 100% Correct," 12 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anxious

Statistics for anxious

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anxious

The first known use of anxious was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up anxious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!