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


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

Other Words from worry


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

Choose the Right Synonym for worry


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


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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pentagon leaders worry that a Turkish military movement into Syria could force the SDF to defend against the Turkish troops. Courtney Kube, NBC News, 28 July 2022 Investors worry such aggressive action by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to control inflation that is at multi-decade highs might derail global economic growth. CBS News, 27 July 2022 How much should people worry about contracting monkeypox? Katia Hetter, CNN, 27 July 2022 Environmental advocates worry that codifying the cash in lieu provision could result in more developers requesting that route. Kate Selig, BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2022 As more individuals utilize at-home testing, officials worry many of the results go unreported and an accurate tabulation of community spread is unattainable. Brooks Sutherland, The Enquirer, 25 July 2022 Still, experts worry about how the press would fare under six more years of persecution, and the impact this all has on Philippine democracy. Mark Saludes, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 July 2022 While some locals shrug it off, others worry that the media attention could taint the public image of Boyle Heights. Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times, 24 July 2022 Some experts worry these and other differences could possibly deepen existing medical inequities between poor and wealthy nations. Maria Cheng, Anchorage Daily News, 22 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun What began as worry quickly ratcheted to panic after David's daughter drove to Daniel's apartment. Dateline Nbc, NBC News, 27 July 2022 Take a Maison Margiela rubber and canvas tote to the beach and easily wipe off the worry of ocean salt and sand. Gaby Keiderling, Vogue, 22 July 2022 Currently, the state has a price cap that requires each new offshore project to offer power at a lower price than the one brought online before it, which some worry has discouraged bids. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 21 July 2022 After conducting his tour of the farm, McNamara sat on the graceful porch that wraps around his house and tried to describe the mixture of joy and worry that comes from handing down the farm. Los Angeles Times, 17 July 2022 Over in Spain, Atlético’s immediate worry won’t concern the World Cup. Henry Flynn, Forbes, 16 July 2022 It’s so easy to focus on a particular problem or worry. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 15 July 2022 Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel at the Human Rights Campaign, understands that worry. Shelia Poole, ajc, 14 July 2022 At the time, market analysts told ABC News the worry over fake accounts could serve as a pretext for Musk to bargain a lower price for the acquisition or abandon the effort altogether. Max Zahn, ABC News, 13 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of worry


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


1804, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for worry


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

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The first known use of worry was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Worry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worry. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for worry


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


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on worry

Nglish: Translation of worry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of worry for Arabic Speakers


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