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 But now, as the country prepares for the transition to a Biden administration, investors almost certainly won’t have to worry about an out-of-the-blue tweet from the president toppling the markets. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "After Chaotic 4 Years, Wall St. Is Itching to Unfollow @realDonaldTrump," 24 Nov. 2020 Win on Friday and SGP won’t have to worry about anything else. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "With status of Grand Prairie vs. SGP game up in air, there’s a lot to be determined in 8-6A," 23 Nov. 2020 If your phone buzzes or rings while charging you won’t have to worry about the device falling off of the charging pad. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "Our guide to finding the right wireless charger for your device," 13 Nov. 2020 While that covers future streams, Twitch users still have to worry about their previous videos. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Twitch explains confusing copyright crackdown, urges users to delete videos," 11 Nov. 2020 For one, so that the club doesn’t have to worry about technical difficulties, the students won’t be performing their pieces live. Angela Roberts, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "‘Have Some Hope With Me’: Century High School Opening Knights prepare to debut ‘Quarantine Cabaret’," 11 Nov. 2020 Borrowers who don't earn more than $25,000 annually won't have to make payments on those federal loans, and won't have to worry about accumulating interest. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Joe Biden plans to cut taxes, boost health care and reduce college debt during his first term," 9 Nov. 2020 Tulane will not have to worry about blocking out the noise. G Smith, NOLA.com, "Game-day breakdown: Tulane travels to East Carolina looking for first winning streak," 5 Nov. 2020 Carol Miralia, 72, didn’t want to worry herself with the drip-drip-drip of the state results. Los Angeles Times, "Republican and Democratic voters unite on this: The election results wait is excruciating," 4 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fans wouldn’t have the annual January, where’s-our-coach-going worry. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Paul Daugherty: College Football doesn't want the UC Bearcats of the world in its Playoff," 11 Nov. 2020 Most potential buyers see even the smallest items as worry, work and money. Cathy Hobbs Tribune News Service, Star Tribune, "How to create looks that help your home sell faster," 6 Nov. 2020 The worry, the suspicion, the stress, the meanness. George Saunders, The New Yorker, "Ghoul," 2 Nov. 2020 And overall, nearly 9 in 10 worry that others won’t accept the outcome. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Americans, fearing post-election violence, are eyeing each other with suspicion," 1 Nov. 2020 With few people dining out at restaurants and colder weather limiting outdoor dining, some in the seafood industry worry customers won’t venture out for oysters on the half shell and po’ boys. Washington Post, "Experts worry coronavirus will cut oyster demand in Maryland," 1 Nov. 2020 With few people dining out at restaurants and colder weather limiting outdoor dining, some in the seafood industry worry customers won’t venture out for oysters on the half shell and po’boys. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, "As Maryland’s wild oyster season starts, experts worry coronavirus fears may reduce demand," 19 Oct. 2020 Lagarde also discussed an additional worry, which is the dramatic destruction of work from the pandemic. Piotr Skolimowski, Bloomberg.com, "Virus Resurgence Sees World Central Bankers Stick to Gloomy Tone," 18 Oct. 2020 Why should a fellow white dinner guest worry for her son’s safety after a recent move to Brooklyn? Kierstan Carter, The New Republic, "Claudia Rankine Has a Few Questions," 6 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for worry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for worry

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Worry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worry. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for worry

worry

verb
How to pronounce worry (audio)

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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Comments on worry

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