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 apprehensiveness

Historical Examples of apprehensiveness

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for apprehensiveness



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 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