worry

verb
wor·​ry | \ ˈwər-ē How to pronounce worry (audio) , ˈwə-rē\
worried; worrying

Definition of worry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 dialectal British : choke, strangle
2a : to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat
b : to shake or pull at with the teeth a terrier worrying a rat
c : to touch or disturb something repeatedly
d : to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling
3a : to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment : torment
b : to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort
4 : to afflict with mental distress or agitation : make anxious

intransitive verb

1 dialectal British : strangle, choke
2 : to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort : struggle
3 : to feel or experience concern or anxiety : fret worrying about his health

worry

noun
plural worries

Definition of worry (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated : anxiety
b : an instance or occurrence of such distress or agitation
2 : a cause of worry : trouble, difficulty

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Other Words from worry

Verb

worrier \ ˈwər-​ē-​ər How to pronounce worrier (audio) , ˈwə-​rē-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for worry

Verb

worry, annoy, harass, harry, plague, pester, tease mean to disturb or irritate by persistent acts. worry implies an incessant goading or attacking that drives one to desperation. pursued a policy of worrying the enemy annoy implies disturbing one's composure or peace of mind by intrusion, interference, or petty attacks. you're doing that just to annoy me harass implies petty persecutions or burdensome demands that exhaust one's nervous or mental power. harassed on all sides by creditors harry may imply heavy oppression or maltreatment. the strikers had been harried by thugs plague implies a painful and persistent affliction. plagued all her life by poverty pester stresses the repetition of petty attacks. constantly pestered with trivial complaints tease suggests an attempt to break down one's resistance or rouse to wrath. children teased the dog

Noun

care, concern, solicitude, anxiety, worry mean a troubled or engrossed state of mind or the thing that causes this. care implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension. a face worn by years of care concern implies a troubled state of mind because of personal interest, relation, or affection. crimes caused concern in the neighborhood solicitude implies great concern and connotes either thoughtful or hovering attentiveness toward another. acted with typical maternal solicitude anxiety stresses anguished uncertainty or fear of misfortune or failure. plagued by anxiety and self-doubt worry suggests fretting over matters that may or may not be real cause for anxiety. financial worries

Examples of worry in a Sentence

Verb

We didn't want you to worry. Don't worry. You'll be fine. Don't make your parents worry. When they didn't call after two hours, we began to worry. They were fine. We needn't have worried. His poor health worries me. It doesn't seem to worry him that rain is in the forecast. We didn't tell you about the accident because we didn't want to worry you.

Noun

She finally ended months of worry over her credit card debt when she finished paying off her bill. His high blood pressure is cause for worry. Our greatest worry is that she'll get lost. His only worry right now is getting to the airport on time. His mother's health is a constant worry.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After Handley’s arrest on Oct. 6, 2012, Shegerian said, Nayeri became scared, worrying that the surveillance equipment left in the Tahoe could connect him to the kidnapping. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Hossein Nayeri convicted in kidnapping of pair and torture of Newport Beach marijuana dispensary owner," 16 Aug. 2019 Less adventurous fest-goers, don't worry, there will also be mild tastes. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "2019's best fall festivals around Texas," 3 Sep. 2019 One reason autonomy is so important is that commanders worry that radio jamming and cyberattacks might cause ships to lose contact in the future. The Atlantic, "Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill," 3 Sep. 2019 Don’t worry, Alabama is not expected to have to face Hurricane Dorian. Leigh Morgan, al, "Hurricane Dorian 2019: Alabama won’t be ‘hit harder’ by hurricane despite Trump tweet," 1 Sep. 2019 When Mattis quit last December, a number of pundits fulfilled their word counts and airtime quotas worrying what would happen now that the last grownup had finally left the White House. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Twilight of the “Adults in the Room”," 29 Aug. 2019 Not to worry, the contrasting notes aren't overpowering: The exotic notes of white blossom, bergamot, vanilla, and sandalwood create a complex finish that's breathable and inviting. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Why Tom Ford's Métallique Fragrance Is Worth It," 28 Aug. 2019 Just show up and don't worry about the workout that's to come. Fox News, "Las Vegas man, 18, drops 113 pounds so he can enlist in Army," 27 Aug. 2019 Trying not to get attached if this thing isn't going anywhere - @ch0z3n1 Don’t worry, enjoy the ride. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions mailbag: How to fix NFL preseason; keep eye on Patriots QB situation," 25 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Officials also had worries about the costs and logistics of running addiction-treatment programs behind bars. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Seven jails start providing medications for addiction in pilot program," 5 Sep. 2019 Parents struggling to financially survive in this high-cost area have other worries. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "The $20 pair of cleats that has mocked me and forced me to think about the uniqueness of parenting in the Washington area," 4 Sep. 2019 Aside from this, Northern Ireland have no further injury worries with key players such as Jonny Evans and Steven Davis available. SI.com, "Northern Ireland vs Luxembourg: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Steam, Kick Off Time & Team News," 4 Sep. 2019 The worry is always there, hovering in the back of her mind. Bend Bulletin, oregonlive, "Oregon mother fears deportation as her son waits for a kidney transplant," 3 Sep. 2019 The bigger worry for Trump is that his tariffs risk losing the support of farmers as well as business leaders. Fortune, "Trump’s Trade War with China is about to Hit Home," 31 Aug. 2019 The bigger worry is not H-1B but local talent availability. Itika Sharma Punit, Quartz India, "“Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal, and not Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, is the Indian techie’s new role model”," 11 Aug. 2019 The ones who do have bigger worries, like making a 53-man roster. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "After Kaare Vedvik’s (kind of) historic night, Ravens kicker is back on track for an NFL job," 9 Aug. 2019 Stone, the Santa Clara County assessor, has other worries. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Prop. 13 reform headed to California ballot could swamp counties," 6 July 2019

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1804, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for worry

Verb

Middle English worien, from Old English wyrgan; akin to Old High German wurgen to strangle, Lithuanian veržti to constrict

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More Definitions for worry

worry

verb

English Language Learners Definition of worry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to think about problems or fears : to feel or show fear and concern because you think that something bad has happened or could happen
: to make (someone) anxious or upset : to cause (someone) to worry

worry

noun

English Language Learners Definition of worry (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feeling of concern about something bad that might happen : the state or condition of worrying about something
: a problem or concern : something that causes you to be worried

worry

verb
wor·​ry | \ ˈwər-ē How to pronounce worry (audio) \
worried; worrying

Kids Definition of worry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to feel or express great concern I worry about Grandma's health.
2 : to make anxious or upset The child's illness worried his parents.
3 : to shake and tear with the teeth The puppy was worrying an old shoe.

Other Words from worry

worrier \ -​ē-​ər \ noun

worry

noun
plural worries

Kids Definition of worry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : concern about something that might happen : anxiety There was no playfulness … just a sense … of worry.— Lois Lowry, Number the Stars
2 : a cause of great concern Her poor grades are a worry to her parents.

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More from Merriam-Webster on worry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with worry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worry

Spanish Central: Translation of worry

Nglish: Translation of worry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of worry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on worry

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