1

worry

verb wor·ry \ ˈwər-ē , ˈwə-rē \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of worry

worried; worrying
transitive verb
1 dialectal British : choke, strangle
2 a : 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
3 a : 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

worrier

play \ˈwər-ē-ər, ˈwə-rē-\ noun

worryingly

adverb

Examples of worry in a Sentence

  1. We didn't want you to worry.

  2. Don't worry. You'll be fine.

  3. Don't make your parents worry.

  4. When they didn't call after two hours, we began to worry.

  5. They were fine. We needn't have worried.

  6. His poor health worries me.

  7. It doesn't seem to worry him that rain is in the forecast.

  8. We didn't tell you about the accident because we didn't want to worry you.

Recent Examples of worry from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of worry

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

worry Synonyms

Synonyms
bother, fear, fret, fuss, stew, stress, sweat, trouble, give a hang (or care a hang), sweat blood
Antonyms
calm, compose, quiet, settle, soothe, tranquilize (also tranquillize)
Related Words
agonize; long, pine, yearn; chafe; despair
Near Antonyms
accept; abide, bear, endure, stick out, stomach, sustain, take, tolerate

Synonym Discussion of 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

2

worry

noun

Definition of worry

plural worries
1 a : 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

Examples of worry in a Sentence

  1. She finally ended months of worry over her credit card debt when she finished paying off her bill.

  2. His high blood pressure is cause for worry.

  3. Our greatest worry is that she'll get lost.

  4. His only worry right now is getting to the airport on time.

  5. His mother's health is a constant worry.

Recent Examples of worry from the Web

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

1804

Synonym Discussion of worry

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

WORRY Defined for English Language Learners

worry

verb

Definition of worry for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of worry for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

worry

verb wor·ry \ ˈwər-ē \

Definition of worry for Students

worried; worrying
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.

worrier

\-ē-ər\ noun

2

worry

noun

Definition of worry for Students

plural worries
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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