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 formsap·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbap·pre·hen·sive·ness, nounnon·ap·pre·hen·sive, adjectiveo·ver·ap·pre·hen·sive, adjectiveo·ver·ap·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbo·ver·ap·pre·hen·sive·ness, nounpseu·do·ap·pre·hen·sive, adjectivepseu·do·ap·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbun·ap·pre·hen·sive, adjectiveun·ap·pre·hen·sive·ly, adverbun·ap·pre·hen·sive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apprehensive

Contemporary Examples of apprehensive

Historical Examples of apprehensive

  • I received the deputation with a trembling and apprehensive heart.

  • They are apprehensive that Mr. Lovelace will be there with design to come home with me.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • And from this examination he was satisfied of one fact which made him uneasy, apprehensive.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • Some people would have been apprehensive of what might pass between her and Mrs. Greme.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • He was worried and apprehensive, yet the camp lured his mate and she was loath to depart.

    White Fang

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for apprehensive



fearful or anxious
Derived Formsapprehensively, adverbapprehensiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for apprehensive

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