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

Figuring out if football is part of that will be difficult, and anxious, but the same can be said of a million things watching them grow up. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: No M.D. for Chiefs' LDT, finding Royals hope (and an All-Star)," 26 June 2018 Diego was anxious, frequently glancing around the room, and talked in a disorganized manner about the Illuminati, Freemasons and the end of the world. Dr. Stephen Mcleod-bryant, miamiherald, "Psychosis often the effect of long-term, recreational marijuana use," 15 June 2018 Jordan is also anxious to learn under Clackamas coach Joe Bushman, who is one of the state's top offensive minds. Andrew Nemec,, "John Miller, Junior Walling, 2020 Oregon HS LBs, discuss Oregon State Beavers, early recruiting process," 18 May 2018 Archie is understandably anxious that the Black Hood will be back for father dad. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Season 2 Episode 19 Brought the Drama," 26 Apr. 2018 That relationship is further strained with the arrival of Erica’s future stepbrother, Luke (Joey Morgan), a bashful, anxious, overweight prescription-pill addict who’s just been released from rehab. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "‘Flower’ proves how hard it is to write a teenage girl," 22 Mar. 2018 The 18-day ordeal riveted much of the world — from the awful news that the 13 were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers nearly 10 days later. Stephen Wright, Fox News, "AP Interview: US rescuer details high-risk Thai cave mission," 11 July 2018 The 18-day ordeal riveted much of the world – from the awful news that the 13 were missing, to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found by a pair of British divers nearly 10 days later. Stephen Wright, The Christian Science Monitor, "US Air Force rescue specialist details 'once in a lifetime rescue' in Thai cave," 11 July 2018 Copper prices swung between small gains and losses before closing slightly higher Friday, with global investors still anxious about recent trade barbs between the U.S. and China. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Copper Closes Slightly Higher as Trade Anxiety Continues," 22 June 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

13 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for anxious

The first known use of anxious was in 1548

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More Definitions for anxious



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


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.


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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