worry

verb
wor·​ry | \ˈwər-ē, 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 , ˈwə-​rē-​ \ noun
worryingly adverb

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

Ford has been experimenting with multi-locker delivery vans, allowing its cars to serve multiple customers on a single trip—without worrying about one customer swiping another's deliveries. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Walmart agrees to work with Ford on self-driving grocery delivery pilot," 14 Nov. 2018 Is there any party that worries about just some of the skills not translating or some of the software not translating? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: RevUp CEO Steve Spinner on Recode Decode," 12 Nov. 2018 The losses illustrate an ongoing concern from rural or suburban factions that worry measures like this will only benefit big cities and neglect the needs of smaller municipalities. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Transit on the ballot: How cities voted to fund transportation," 7 Nov. 2018 My story is a circle—a peeling back of layers of doubt, fear, worry, and other things that kept me from truth . . Emily Farra, Vogue, "Foundrae’s New Bespoke Jewelry Allows You to Create Your Own Story With Enamel, Symbols, and Gemstones," 6 Nov. 2018 Justin is dealing with his own problems, while simultaneously worrying about his ex-Selena. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber "Doesn't Feel Whole" After Marrying Hailey Baldwin," 12 Oct. 2018 But the group's scientists worry that without a study, NASA will simply assume a lander isn't feasible — and in the process, shortchange the scientific merit of the smallest planet. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "What Would It Take to Land on Mercury? It's Time to Find Out, Scientists Say," 30 Aug. 2018 Jalen was worried before the surgery and suffered from anxiety. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Police officers and K9s join boy with tumor to pray before his brain surgery," 13 July 2018 The Ukrainian woman on the phone that day worried about the U.S. selling Ukraine to the highest bidder. Nina Jankowicz, The New Republic, "Available in Helsinki: the Fate of Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Advocates for gender equality and racial justice have been concerned about Kavanaugh since his nomination, and his responses during his confirmation hearings did nothing to assuage their worries. Kay Steiger, Vox, "4 winners and 3 losers from Brett Kavanaugh’s many-hour, multi-day confirmation hearings," 7 Sep. 2018 So by insisting on a curfew, parents can limit both their worries and whatever danger their kids could get into. Alexis Jones, Woman's Day, "QUIZ: Where Do You Stand on These Back-to-School Parenting Questions?," 23 Aug. 2018 Rumaan Alam writes women who bond over their worry. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Rumaan Alam Ponders the Limits of Parental Love," 15 May 2018 Her worry reached a fever pitch after 6-year-old Etan Patz vanished in 1979. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "'Little Panic': How the Etan Patz kidnapping terrorized author Amanda Stern," 10 July 2018 As usual, my worries were pointless, as the bar not only met my expectations but also exceeded them. Rebecca Norris, Allure, "Lush's Internet-Famous Shampoo Bars Made My Hair Crazy Shiny," 29 June 2018 Now that Jenner is a new mom, her worries seem even more prescient. refinery29.com, "Wait, Who Exactly Are Kylie Jenner's Roommates?," 29 June 2018 There, for a few blissful spring days at a hunting retreat far from his myriad worries in New York and Washington, Donald Trump Jr., eldest son and namesake of the president of the United States, was simply Don. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018 O’Rourke is going to places in Texas that Democrats long ago appeared to give up on and his fundraising worries Abbott’s team. Jeremy Wallace, San Antonio Express-News, "Republicans in Texas scoff at ‘blue wave’ even as they brace for it," 16 June 2018

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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Learn More about worry

Dictionary Entries near worry

worriment

worrisome

worrit

worry

worry at

worry beads

worrying

Statistics for worry

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for worry

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

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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 \
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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