apprehension

noun
ap·​pre·​hen·​sion | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhen(t)-shən How to pronounce apprehension (audio) \

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

The deterrent effect comes not from the risk of apprehension by U.S. border agents but from the risk of dying in the desert or being robbed, exploited or murdered by trafficker gangs. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Politicians Never Lied Before Trump," 11 Jan. 2019 Much of the apprehension relates to the prospect of myriad forms of online sports betting — accessible to gamblers at any time and location via their mobile phones. David Crary, chicagotribune.com, "Expanded sports betting fuels fears about gambling addiction," 19 May 2018 With a pregnancy journey like hers, those feelings of apprehension were understandable. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "After Heart Surgery, This Rainbow Baby Gave His Parents the Biggest Smile," 1 May 2017 As Melissa Boudreault, a vice president at CGI Technologies and Solutions, the technology company building the website, and state staffers kicked off the event, the folks from Vermont felt a mix of apprehension and hope. Lynnley Browning, Newsweek, "Doubling Down on Obamacare," 6 Feb. 2014 Upon apprehension a medical screening was conducted of the aliens where the father denied any illness for either himself or his minor child. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Migrant girl dies in Border Patrol’s custody," 15 Dec. 2018 Previously, when that didn’t happen — when ICE didn’t pick up a family from Border Patrol within 72 hours of their apprehension — Border Patrol just kept holding them anyway until ICE could pick them up. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump administration to release hundreds of immigrant families from detention," 27 Dec. 2018 The apprehensions of undocumented immigrants over 10 years would total 3,040,000 rather than an annual number of 304,000. WSJ, "Parsing the Numbers on Trump’s Border Wall," 1 Feb. 2019 The case is the first apprehension of a large-scale, high seas driftnet vessel since 2014, according to the Coast Guard's statement. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska-based Coast Guard cutter detains Chinese-flagged vessel for suspected illegal fishing," 23 June 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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Statistics for apprehension

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

English Language Learners Definition of apprehension

: fear that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen : a feeling of being worried about the future
: the act of arresting someone for a crime
somewhat old-fashioned : the act of noticing and understanding something

apprehension

noun
ap·​pre·​hen·​sion | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhen-shən How to pronounce apprehension (audio) \

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 How to pronounce apprehension (audio) \

Legal Definition of apprehension

: arrest

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Comments on apprehension

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