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[ap-ri-hen-siv] /ˌæp rɪˈhɛn sɪv/
uneasy or fearful about something that might happen:
apprehensive for the safety of the mountain climbers.
quick to learn or understand.
perceptive; discerning (usually followed by of).
Origin of apprehensive
First recorded in 1350-1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word apprehēnsīvus. See apprehensible, -ive
Related forms
apprehensively, adverb
apprehensiveness, noun
nonapprehensive, adjective
overapprehensive, adjective
overapprehensively, adverb
overapprehensiveness, noun
pseudoapprehensive, adjective
pseudoapprehensively, adverb
unapprehensive, adjective
unapprehensively, adverb
unapprehensiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for apprehensiveness
Historical Examples
  • For all its apprehensiveness, a sickly grin ran round the group.

    Haviland's Chum Bertram Mitford
  • But I am inclined to think that this apprehensiveness was constitutional.

    Recollections and Impressions Octavius Brooks Frothingham
  • Even now, she knew that her shoulders were contracted with apprehensiveness.


    Frank Swinnerton
  • But his hugeness could not quite overcome his apprehensiveness.

    The Sea-Wolf Jack London
  • And yet he had just been taking credit for his own freedom from apprehensiveness!

    The Pretty Lady

    Arnold E. Bennett
  • And now, not without a bit of apprehensiveness, he let it out.

  • But I soon discovered the cause of the sound, and laughed at my own apprehensiveness.

  • As a result of the apprehensiveness aroused, detachments for self-defense were organized by the Jews of Moscow.

  • Isabel consented, turning to Morgan, whose habitual expression of apprehensiveness was somewhat accentuated.

    The Magnificent Ambersons Booth Tarkington
  • The general condition which she presented at this time is described as one of apprehensiveness when at home.

    Benign Stupors August Hoch
British Dictionary definitions for apprehensiveness


fearful or anxious
Derived Forms
apprehensively, adverb
apprehensiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apprehensiveness



late 14c., "capable of perceiving, fitted for mental impression," from Medieval Latin apprehensivus, from Latin apprehensus, past participle of apprehendere (see apprehend). Meaning "fearful of what is to come" is recorded from 1718, via notion of "capable of grasping with the mind" (c.1600). Related: Apprehensively; apprehensiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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