[ ang-zahy-i-tee ]
/ æŋˈzaɪ ɪ ti /
Save This Word!

noun, plural anx·i·e·ties.
distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune: He felt anxiety about the possible loss of his job.
earnest but tense desire; eagerness: He had a keen anxiety to succeed in his work.
Psychiatry. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.


Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of anxiety

First recorded in 1515–25; from Latin anxietās, equivalent to anxi(us)anxious + -etās, variant of -itās before a vowel

synonym study for anxiety

1. See apprehension.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use anxiety in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for anxiety

/ (æŋˈzaɪɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties
a state of uneasiness or tension caused by apprehension of possible future misfortune, danger, etc; worry
intense desire; eagerness
psychol a state of intense apprehension or worry often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shaking, intense feelings in the gut, etc, common in mental illness or after a very distressing experienceSee also angst

Word Origin for anxiety

C16: from Latin anxietas; see anxious
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

Scientific definitions for anxiety

[ ăng-zīĭ-tē ]

A state of apprehension and fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation.♦ In psychiatry, a patient has an anxiety disorder ♦ if normal psychological functioning is disrupted or if anxiety persists without an identifiable cause.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for anxiety


Emotional distress, especially that brought on by fear of failure. (See also angst.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.