[ ap-ri-hen-shuhn ]
See synonyms for apprehension on
  1. anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil.

  2. the faculty or act of apprehending or understanding; perception on a direct and immediate level.

  1. acceptance of or receptivity to information without passing judgment on its validity, often without complete comprehension.

  2. a view, opinion, or idea on any subject.

  3. the act of arresting; seizure: Police apprehension of the burglar was aided by two alert teenagers.

Origin of apprehension

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin apprehēnsiōn-, stem of apprehēnsiō, from apprehēns(us) “grasped” (past participle of apprehendere “to grasp”; see apprehend) + -iō -ion

synonym study For apprehension

1. Apprehension, anxiety, misgiving imply an unsettled and uneasy state of mind. Apprehension is an active state of fear, usually of some danger or misfortune: apprehension before opening a telegram. Anxiety is a somewhat prolonged state of apprehensive worry: anxiety because of a reduced income. Misgiving implies a dubious uncertainty or suspicion, as well as uneasiness: to have misgivings about the investment.

Other words for apprehension

Opposites for apprehension

Other words from apprehension

  • non·ap·pre·hen·sion, noun
  • o·ver·ap·pre·hen·sion, noun
  • pre·ap·pre·hen·sion, noun
  • re·ap·pre·hen·sion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for apprehension


/ (ˌæprɪˈhɛnʃən) /

  1. fear or anxiety over what may happen

  2. the act of capturing or arresting

  1. the faculty of comprehending; understanding

  2. a notion or conception

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