apprehension

noun
ap·​pre·​hen·​sion | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhen(t)-shən \

Definition of apprehension

1 : suspicion or fear especially of future evil : foreboding an atmosphere of nervous apprehension
2 : seizure by legal process : arrest apprehension of a criminal
3a : the act or power of perceiving or comprehending something a person of dull apprehension
b : the result of apprehending something mentally : conception according to popular apprehension

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Synonyms for apprehension

Synonyms

alarm (also alarum), apprehensiveness, dread, foreboding, misgiving

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Latin Helps Build Apprehension

The Latin verb prehendere really grabs our attention. It means "to grasp" or "to seize," and it is an ancestor of various English words. It teamed up with the prefix ad- (which takes the form ap- before p and means "to," "toward," or "near") to form apprehendere, the Latin predecessor of our words apprehension, apprehend, and apprehensive. When prehendere joined the prefix com- ("with," "together," "jointly"), Latin got comprehendere, and English eventually got comprehend, comprehension, and comprehensive. Prehendere also gave us the words comprise, prehensile ("adapted for seizing or grasping"), prison, reprehend, and reprise, among others.

Examples of apprehension in a Sentence

The thought of moving to a new city fills me with apprehension. an increased number of apprehensions

Recent Examples on the Web

In June 2017, Dukes was indicted on charges including concealing a death, tampering with evidence, and hindering apprehension of a criminal. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Suspects in missing teacher's death admitted slaying, court documents say," 18 Aug. 2018 Photo Composite: Crystal Tai Investors’ apprehension also appears to have hit the bond market, where Treasury yields—which rise as bond prices fall—have managed to remain well off their lows for the year. Akane Otani, WSJ, "The Market’s Latest Problem: Hesitation to Buy the Dip," 9 Dec. 2018 Overall, apprehension levels in August and September 2018 were only a little above average for the past several years at this time. Dara Lind, Vox, "The migrant caravan, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 Couch faces money laundering and hindering apprehension charges at a Nov. 12 hearing. Fox News, "'Affluenza' teen's mom released on bond," 18 Oct. 2018 The figures for May, however, show a surge in family unit apprehensions across the southwest border. Julián Aguilar, star-telegram, "Apprehensions at Texas-Mexico border spiked in May," 7 June 2018 Nearly a third of all people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border during the budget year 2018 were families and children — about 157,248 out of 395,579 total apprehensions. Colleen Long, The Seattle Times, "Trump struggles for a plan should the migrant caravan arrive," 23 Oct. 2018 There’s also growing apprehension over whether Level 3 technology is a good idea in the first place. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Mercedes-Benz wants to make the 2020 S-Class partially autonomous," 11 Oct. 2018 This apprehension has since faded: López’s program is now widely embraced in the climbing community, and many pros have used her approach in their training. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, "Climber Eva López Has a PhD in Finger Strength," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apprehension.' 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 apprehension

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for apprehension

Middle English, from Late Latin apprehension-, apprehensio, from Latin apprehendere — see apprehend

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for apprehension

The first known use of apprehension was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for apprehension

apprehension

noun
ap·​pre·​hen·​sion | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhen-shən \

Kids Definition of apprehension

2 : fear of or uncertainty about what may be coming They approached the old house with apprehension.
3 : an understanding of something apprehension of the poem's message

apprehension

noun
ap·​pre·​hen·​sion | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhen-chən \

Legal Definition of apprehension

: arrest

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Comments on apprehension

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WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

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