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

Rhodes was an ace on the quarter-mile ring on the frontstretch before there was a website and media obligations and country-wide logistics to worry about. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Victory at Kentucky Speedway would be 'biggest win ever' for Ben Rhodes," 9 July 2018 Lest you be put off by the potential for noisy trains, not to worry—steel foils that wrap around the home create an acoustic shell to protect its interior from noise up above. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Sculptural steel home built into a 19th-century railway bridge wants $1.4M," 9 July 2018 Don't worry—the juice and stomped grapes are used as compost in the vineyard afterward, not for wine. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California," 9 July 2018 There are way more important things to worry about — like how to identify the warning signs of skin cancer on your own body as the summer gets hotter. Emily Wang, Allure, "People Are Mom-Shaming Jessie James Decker for Letting Her Daughter Get a Sun Tan," 2 July 2018 Lester, who has thrown 106 1/3 innings this season, wasn’t worried about getting scratched. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs pitcher Jon Lester's Sunday start means he won't pitch in All-Star game," 14 July 2018 Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told Judge Sabraw on Friday that he was worried some adults who arrived at the border with children were improperly or arbitrarily denied reunification. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "Judge Orders 12-Hour Notice to Reunite Immigrant Families," 13 July 2018 But Federal Reserve officials and others are worried about potential damage from a prolonged trade war. New York Times, "U.S. Threatens Tariffs on $200 Billion of Chinese Goods, From Tilapia to Handbags," 10 July 2018 As Jennifer Dalven, director of the Reproductive Freedom Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, explained to Glamour, women in the U.S. really should be worried for their reproductive rights. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "These States Will Likely Ban Abortion if the Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Police raids and the fate of his liquor license were constant worries during those early years in Dayton. Cincinnati Enquirer, "Read more from this Project," 13 July 2018 The report drops language from previous reports that stressed worry that inflation would continue to run below the target. Jim Tankersley, BostonGlobe.com, "Fed plays down trade woes and suggests rosy economic outlook," 13 July 2018 The current discussions about such a move—while preliminary—-underscore growing worry among consuming nations over supplies. Timothy Puko, WSJ, "U.S. and Allies Consider Possible Oil-Reserve Release," 13 July 2018 Bill Schulz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Year after year, about 800 bands and some 800,000+ people descend on the Milwaukee lakefront for Summerfest to help people forget about the worries of the world. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest 2018 recap: The best and worst moments from the world's largest music festival," 9 July 2018 So we are left with the cost of Trump’s tariffs, the resulting retaliation against US farmers, the worry of further escalation, and no clarity from him on what comes next. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Can the US-China trade war be stopped? 11 experts weigh in.," 8 July 2018 Valedictorian and class president Kyle Vallee said that the students' past worries and anxieties over test grades would prove to have no lasting effects in their future lives. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, "Plainfield High School Launches 153 Graduates," 3 July 2018 Whilst Castro may be taking a hard line approach to the rumours that are circulating, the clause in Lenglet's contract will be of some worry to Sevilla fans. SI.com, "Sevilla President Insists La Liga Side Will Only Sell Barcelona Target on One Condition," 4 July 2018 Gurda traces one of the current worries about Milwaukee's bodies of water — the impact of invasive species — back as far as 1829, when Canada opened a canal bypassing Niagara Falls. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee loves its rivers and Lake Michigan — and keeps abusing them, too," 3 July 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

22 Sep 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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