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

The stabbing death of a man outside of a nightclub on Federal Hill has restaurant owners in the tourist-friendly neighborhood worried about how their businesses will be affected this summer. Dan Mcgowan, BostonGlobe.com, "Why replacing the PawSox is easier said than done," 11 July 2019 At this time, the dealership has the defective 2012 Ford Focus for sale on their lot, which worries me that someone else might get hurt driving that car. Freep.com, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION: OUT OF GEAR Among Ford cars with flawed transmission, the 2012 Focus had the most complaints," 11 July 2019 Aloysius Agbo, an Anglican bishop who worked to end the crisis (and who is unrelated to Joseph Agbo), supported the osu, but worried that segregation would only reinforce the enmity. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, The New Yorker, "The Descendants of Slaves in Nigeria Fight for Equality," 11 July 2019 Many Indonesian planters would abhor this semiwilderness, worrying the understory would compete with oil palm trees for water and nutrients. Dyna Rochmyaningsih, Science | AAAS, "Courting controversy, scientists team with industry to tackle one of the world’s most destructive crops," 11 July 2019 The temblors and the thousands of aftershocks that followed did not lead to major structural damage near the Ridgecrest epicenter but did have residents of nearby Trona, Calif. worrying about their town’s future. Colleen Shalby, latimes.com, "Ridgecrest earthquakes caused damage to Earth’s crust seen from satellite," 11 July 2019 Several senior White House aides take the warnings from scientists seriously and worry over the political costs of airing skepticism, according to three administration officials. Michael Wilner, sun-sentinel.com, "Trump makes environment pitch to Florida voters without saying ‘climate change’," 10 July 2019 Most conservatives worry about social cohesion and equality, and most liberals care about external dangers, but each side works from different definitions and assumptions over how to define the problems — and how to solve them. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Political Leanings Can’t Be Reduced to Genetic Programming," 10 July 2019 New parents often feel judged or worry how they’ll be held responsible for their methods of child rearing. John C. Havens, Quartz, "Will we lose our rights as parents once robots are better at raising our kids?," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The worry is that real moves toward impeaching Trump will embolden his supporters, theoretically damaging the strong hand Democrats appear to hold heading into the presidential election. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Do Democrats Really Want To See Trump’s Tax Returns?," 5 July 2019 Officials say the worries of neighborhood association champions are overblown. oregonlive.com, "Emotions flare as Portland, long friendly to neighborhoods, weighs gutting their powers," 2 July 2019 Another worry is whether Tesla will hit its own vehicle production target. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla delivered a record number of cars in the second quarter," 2 July 2019 The worry was that other companies and market participants would engineer defaults for profit, ruining default insurance as a useful source of lender protection. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Blackstone-Inspired Defaults Under U.S., U.K. Spotlight," 24 June 2019 Longer-term yields, meanwhile, fall when expectations for inflation are low and worries about the economy are growing. CBS News, "Why are stocks soaring while bonds signal gloom?," 21 June 2019 The worry is that Trump could humiliate Xi in a similar way. Robyn Dixon, latimes.com, "You called us, China reminds Trump as trade talks resume," 19 June 2019 His first and biggest worry was the American effort to defend itself with nuclear weapons. George Packer, The New York Review of Books, "Thomas Powers," 6 June 2019 The worries about the abuse claims may not resonate in the G-20 meetings. Washington Post, "Saudi crown prince feted at G20 despite criticism elsewhere," 28 June 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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