trepidation

noun
trep·​i·​da·​tion | \ˌtre-pə-ˈdā-shən \

Definition of trepidation 

1 : a nervous or fearful feeling of uncertain agitation : apprehension trepidation about starting a new job

2 archaic : a tremulous motion : tremor

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Choose the Right Synonym for trepidation

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Trepidation Has Latin Roots

If you've ever trembled with fright, you know something of both the sensation and etymology of trepidation. The word comes from the Latin verb trepidare, which means "to tremble." When it first appeared in English in the early 1600s, it meant "tremulous motion" or "tremor." Around the same time, English speakers also started using the "nervous agitation" sense of trepidation that we use today.

Examples of trepidation in a Sentence

In the first minutes, hours, or even days of fieldwork most researchers feel trepidation about being an outsider, a stranger on the scene … — Marie D. Price, Geographical Review, January-April 2001 This was an ambitious project, and a number of us felt some trepidation about the possible results. — Brian Phillips, New Republic, 13 Dec. 1999 I came aboard the 319 with trepidation, to join the lives of utter strangers, a man untried by the circumstances they had known. — Henry G. Bugbee, Jr., "Naval History," in Authors at Sea, Robert Shenk, ed.1997 He had some trepidation about agreeing to their proposal. shaking with trepidation, I stepped into the old abandoned house
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Recent Examples on the Web

Michelle shares her trepidation about trading a law firm job for a lower-paying position at City Hall and, later, balancing her position as a hospital administrator with her husband’s political aspirations. Elisabeth Egan, Glamour, "With Becoming, Michelle Obama Proves She's Just Like You, Me, and Everyone We Know," 13 Nov. 2018 Despite a little trepidation about being a lesbian couple in a conservative state, Ahern decided to join her. Robin Abcarian, latimes.com, "Leavin' on that midnight train to Georgia ... because a Bay Area house is simply out of reach," 8 June 2018 Yet senior Trump administration officials and American commanders have been watching, with growing trepidation, as Kurdish troops and commanders divert from the fight against the Islamic State. Eric Schmitt And Rod Nordland, New York Times, "Amid Turkish Assault, Kurdish Forces Are Drawn Away From U.S. Fight With ISIS," 28 Feb. 2018 For example, an employee who has just scored a promotion may have a fleeting sense of trepidation. The Seattle Times, "Tips to take your writing to the next level," 30 July 2018 With little trepidation, Painter quit his government job on May 9 and signed his NBA contract a week later. Rick Maese, chicagotribune.com, "He quit a State Department job to play video games. Now he's a star in NBA's 2K League.," 9 July 2018 If there is trepidation, and of course there is, people don't want to think about it. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "What's at stake in Trump's North Korea summit is bigger than we think," 11 June 2018 Businesses eyeing with trepidation the growth of executive power may find the courts aren’t the solution. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The Supreme Court Won’t Stop Executive Overreach," 11 July 2018 Ms Smith, a director at a private-equity firm in New York, opened it with trepidation. The Economist, "Run, TaskRabbit, run: July 2030," 5 July 2018

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

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for trepidation

Latin trepidation-, trepidatio, from trepidare to tremble, from trepidus agitated; probably akin to Old English thrafian to urge, push, Greek trapein to press grapes

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Dictionary Entries near trepidation

trepid

trepidant

trepidate

trepidation

trepidatious

trepidity

treponema

Statistics for trepidation

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trepidation

The first known use of trepidation was in 1605

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More Definitions for trepidation

trepidation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of trepidation

: a feeling of fear that causes you to hesitate because you think something bad or unpleasant is going to happen

trepidation

noun
trep·​i·​da·​tion | \ˌtre-pə-ˈdā-shən \

Kids Definition of trepidation

: a state of alarm or nervousness The boys approached the abandoned house with trepidation.

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