Definition of apprehensive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌaprəˈhensiv/


1Anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen: he felt apprehensive about going home [with clause]: they were apprehensive that something might go wrong
More example sentences
  • I was very anxious and apprehensive about going in to work.
  • In the absence of common interests states will be competitive, apprehensive, and even fearful.
  • Approaching exam time children get apprehensive and nervous about learning and become worried about making a fool of themselves.
anxious, worried, uneasy, nervous, concerned, agitated, tense, afraid, scared, frightened, fearful;
overanxious, neurotic
informal on tenterhooks, trepidatious
2 archaic or literary Relating to perception or understanding.



Pronunciation: /ˈˌaprəˈhensivlē/ Pronunciation: /ˈˌaprēˈhensivlē/
Example sentences
  • One of the boys sleeps on a sofa while the other stares complacently at the camera, arms raised apprehensively.
  • I looked around apprehensively to find the ‘essential services only’ notice but could see nothing.
  • We wonder apprehensively about what will happen to the traffic as the economy expands, and ever more people switch from two wheels to four.


Pronunciation: /ˌaprəˈhensivnəs/
Example sentences
  • Patients experience overwhelming apprehensiveness and anxiety, fear of death, and coldness, followed by body weakness and dizziness.
  • You're driving mad with all this constant eye moving, and apprehensiveness, and such.
  • If everything had been taken into account, her apprehensiveness towards others had probably started in elementary school, around second grade.


Late Middle English (sense 2): from French appréhensif or medieval Latin apprehensivus, from Latin apprehendere 'seize, grasp' (see apprehension).

Words that rhyme with apprehensive

coextensive, comprehensive, defensive, expensive, extensive, intensive, offensive, ostensive, pensive, suspensive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ap·pre·hen·sive

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