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 And don’t worry too much if your toddler interrupts a virtual meeting. Scott Sonenshein, Time, "Don't Bring Your Work Messes Home. Simple Steps to Working Well in the Midst of Coronavirus.," 3 Apr. 2020 Daily Burn 365 is a 30 minute workout live streamed every day at 9 a.m. Can’t make it to the morning class? Don’t worry, the workout of the day becomes available on demand for the remainder of the day. Kate Mccarthy, USA TODAY, "25 ways to take your favorite workout classes at home," 2 Apr. 2020 Don't worry, space definitely won't be an issue in this master bathroom. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Walt Disney’s Former “Technicolor Dream House” is on the Market for $1.095 Million," 2 Apr. 2020 Several countries have both of these challenges, as international investors start to turn away from Africa to worry about the problems at home. Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa, "Africa is watching a potential health disaster turn into an economic crisis, quickly," 29 Mar. 2020 Don't worry about harming the brush head — the bristles are built to take some abuse. Marci Robin, Allure, "The Best Way to Clean Your Clarisonic, According to Experts," 28 Mar. 2020 Hemingway was not to worry; everything was under control. Lesley M.m. Blume, Town & Country, "Hemingway Was Once Quarantined with his Wife... and Mistress," 24 Mar. 2020 Williams, 26, started to worry as the lease for her old apartment ended. Katy Reckdahl, ProPublica, "Renters Became Homeless During the Coronavirus Pandemic After Housing Authorities Delayed Paperwork," 24 Mar. 2020 There's also a lot of stigma associated with the virus, said the woman, who worries about her family being ostracized given the fear and panic that has gripped society as the virus continues to spread. Freep.com, "Metro Detroit family with coronavirus speaks out: 'It's unlike anything. Stay home.'," 22 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The norm is to share joints or bowls with friends and strangers at the event, leading to worries of an even greater spread of the virus. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Hash Bash in Ann Arbor will be virtual this year because of coronavirus: How to watch," 2 Apr. 2020 About 1,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed throughout the country amid worries from health leaders around the globe that Mexico is not doing enough testing or taking the pandemic seriously. Dallas News, "Community spread confirmed in El Paso; outbreak shakes Mexico town," 30 Mar. 2020 That tariff war has already sapped global trade, choked supply chains and boosted worries of a new Cold War as competition between the nations intensifies in a range of different forums. Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg.com, "U.S. Stymies Chinese Bid to Run Intellectual Property Agency," 24 Mar. 2020 The scramble to marshal public health and political resources intensified in New York, where a statewide lockdown took effect amid worries the city of 8.4 million is becoming one of the world's biggest hotspots. Adam Geller, Anchorage Daily News, "Over 1.5 billion people worldwide told to stay home to avoid spreading coronavirus," 23 Mar. 2020 The scramble to marshal public health and political resources intensified in New York, where a statewide lockdown took effect amid worries the city of 8.4 million is becoming one of the world’s biggest hot spots. Adam Gellerand Lori Hinnant, BostonGlobe.com, "More than 1.5 billion globally told to stay home to avoid virus," 23 Mar. 2020 While worries that taking ibuprofen might worsen the coronavirus have gone viral online, health experts say there is currently no credible scientific evidence to substantiate the concern. NBC News, "Coronavirus updates: First member of U.S. Congress tests positive, New York City cases double," 19 Mar. 2020 WASHINGTON—Nursing homes across the country are bracing themselves for further spread of the new coronavirus amid worries over shortages of staff to care for their vulnerable elderly residents. Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, "Nursing Homes Brace for Coronavirus Outbreak Amid Staffing Concerns," 6 Mar. 2020 Markets have been on edge for two weeks, with the S&P 500 down 7.6% from its record on Feb. 19, amid worries about how much economic damage the coronavirus will do. Washington Post, "Asian shares rise following surge in US on stimulus measures," 5 Mar. 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

6 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Worry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worry. Accessed 8 Apr. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on worry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with worry

Spanish Central: Translation of worry

Nglish: Translation of worry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of worry for Arabic Speakers

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