• synonyms


[angk-shuhs, ang-]
See more synonyms for anxious on Thesaurus.com
  1. full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried; solicitous: Her parents were anxious about her poor health.
  2. earnestly desirous; eager (usually followed by an infinitive or for): anxious to please; anxious for our happiness.
  3. attended with or showing solicitude or uneasiness: anxious forebodings.
Show More

Origin of anxious

1615–25; < Latin anxius worried, distressed, derivative of angere to strangle, pain, distress; cf. anguish, -ous
Related formsanx·ious·ly, adverbanx·ious·ness, nounqua·si-anx·ious, adjectivequa·si-anx·ious·ly, adverbun·anx·ious, adjectiveun·anx·ious·ly, adverbun·anx·ious·ness, noun


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com


Usage note

The earliest sense of anxious (in the 17th century) was “troubled” or “worried”: We are still anxious for the safety of our dear sons in battle. Its meaning “earnestly desirous, eager” arose in the mid-18th century: We are anxious to see our new grandson. Some insist that anxious must always convey a sense of distress or worry and object to its use in the sense of “eager,” but such use is fully standard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for anxiousness

Historical Examples

  • One day he was seized with anxiousness for his soul's future.

    The Silver Lining

    John Roussel

  • But his father's anxiousness would be greater than his own could be.

    The Lost Prince

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • And the anxiousness of the combat and the battle came upon him.

  • By another spring the aching and anxiousness were a little dulled, for habit blunts even the keen edge of mortal pain.

  • Was it to speak of his anxiousness as to the state of her father's health that he had led her there, and that he held her hand?

British Dictionary definitions for anxiousness


  1. worried and tense because of possible misfortune, danger, etc; uneasy
  2. fraught with or causing anxiety; worrying; distressingan anxious time
  3. intensely desirous; eageranxious for promotion
Show More
Derived Formsanxiously, adverbanxiousness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin anxius; related to Latin angere to torment; see anger, anguish
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

Word Origin and History for anxiousness



1620s, from Latin anxius "solicitous, uneasy, troubled in mind" (also "causing anxiety, troublesome"), from angere, anguere "choke, squeeze," figuratively "torment, cause distress" (see anger (v.)). The same image is in Serbo-Croatian tjeskoba "anxiety," literally "tightness, narrowness." Related: Anxiously; anxiousness.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper