[wur-ee, wuhr-ee]
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verb (used without object), wor·ried, wor·ry·ing.
  1. to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.
  2. to move with effort: an old car worrying uphill.
verb (used with object), wor·ried, wor·ry·ing.
  1. to torment with cares, anxieties, etc.; trouble; plague.
  2. to seize, especially by the throat, with the teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does another.
  3. to harass by repeated biting, snapping, etc.
noun, plural wor·ries.
  1. a worried condition or feeling; uneasiness or anxiety.
  2. a cause of uneasiness or anxiety; trouble.
  3. act of worrying.
  4. Fox Hunting. the action of the hounds in tearing to pieces the carcass of a fox.
Verb Phrases
  1. worry along/through, Informal. to progress or succeed by constant effort, despite difficulty: to worry through an intolerable situation.
  1. no worries, Informal. Don’t be troubled; it is of no concern: If you can’t make it to the party, no worries.Also not to worry.

Origin of worry

before 900; Middle English weryen, werwen, wyrwyn to strangle, bite, harass, Old English wyrgan to strangle; cognate with German würgen
Related formswor·ri·er, nounwor·ri·less, adjectivewor·ry·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for worry

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Synonym study

3. Worry, annoy, harass all mean to disturb or interfere with someone's comfort or peace of mind. To worry is to cause anxiety, apprehension, or care: to worry one's parents. To annoy is to vex or irritate by continued repetition of interferences: to annoy the neighbors. Harass implies long-continued worry and annoyance: Cares of office harass a president. 6. See concern.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for worries


verb -ries, -rying or -ried
  1. to be or cause to be anxious or uneasy, esp about something uncertain or potentially dangerous
  2. (tr) to disturb the peace of mind of; botherdon't worry me with trivialities
  3. (intr; often foll by along or through) to proceed despite difficulties
  4. (intr often foll by away) to struggle or workto worry away at a problem
  5. (tr) (of a dog, wolf, etc) to lacerate or kill by biting, shaking, etc
  6. (when intr, foll by at) to bite, tear, or gnaw (at) with the teetha dog worrying a bone
  7. (tr) to move as specified, esp by repeated pushesthey worried the log into the river
  8. (tr) to touch or poke repeatedly and idly
  9. obsolete to choke or cause to choke
  10. not to worry informal you need not worry
noun plural -ries
  1. a state or feeling of anxiety
  2. a person or thing that causes anxiety
  3. an act of worrying
  4. no worries informal an expression used to express agreement or to convey that something is proceeding or has proceeded satisfactorily; no problem
Derived Formsworrying, adjectiveworryingly, adverb

Word Origin for worry

Old English wyrgan; related to Old Frisian wergia to kill, Old High German wurgen (German (er) würgen to strangle), Old Norse virgill, urga rope
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 worries



Old English wyrgan "to strangle," from West Germanic *wurgijanan (cf. Middle Dutch worghen, Dutch worgen, Old High German wurgen, German würgen "to strangle," Old Norse virgill "rope"), from PIE *wergh- "to turn" (see wring). Related: Worrisome; worrying.

The oldest sense was obsolete in English after c.1600; meaning "annoy, bother, vex," first recorded 1670s, developed from that of "harass by rough or severe treatment" (1550s), as of dogs or wolves attacking sheep. Meaning "to cause mental distress or trouble" is attested from 1822; intransitive sense of "to feel anxiety or mental trouble" is first recorded 1860.



1804, from worry (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper