Definition of anxiety in English:

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Pronunciation: /aNGˈzīədē/

noun (plural anxieties)

1A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome: he felt a surge of anxiety anxieties about the moral decline of today’s youth
More example sentences
  • Our worries and anxieties evaporated in an instant, and within half an hour my wife, Jayne, was asking how we could buy one.
  • The worries and anxieties of his years at Vétheuil seemed a distant memory.
  • He appears to have resolved these anxieties by stressing the moral gulf between his characters and his own beliefs.
1.1 [with infinitive] Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease: the housekeeper’s eager anxiety to please
More example sentences
  • Achievements since are the result of an anxiety to play it safe.
  • The only cementing force was greed and the anxiety to cling on to power.
  • Madame des Ursins confesses in her voluminous correspondence that she made herself a burden to the king in her anxiety to exclude him from all other influence.
eagerness, keenness, desire
1.2 Psychiatry A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Example sentences
  • They do not seem to know that depression and anxiety can cause eating disorders.
  • As you learn to modify your compulsive behaviour, your anxiety levels should lessen.
  • However, the fact that she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks is less certain of being admitted.


Early 16th century: from French anxiété or Latin anxietas, from anxius (see anxious).

  • angina from mid 16th century:

    The Latin word angere, ‘to choke, squeeze, or strangle’, is the source of a number of English words. The most obvious is perhaps angina, which originally meant quinsy (an inflammation of the throat) and later referred to angina pectoris, a heart condition characterized by a feeling of suffocation and severe pain. Nervous tension can produce feelings of tightness in the throat and chest, which explains why angere is indirectly the root of anguish (Middle English) and anxiety (early 16th century).

Words that rhyme with anxiety

contrariety, dubiety, impiety, impropriety, inebriety, notoriety, piety, satiety, sobriety, ubiety, variety

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: anx·i·e·ty

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