verb (worries, worrying, worried)
- 1Feel or cause to feel anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems: [no object]: he worried about his soldier sons in the war [with clause]: I began to worry whether I had done the right thing [with object]: there was no need to worry herMore example sentences
fret, be worried, be concerned, be anxious, agonize, brood, dwell on, panic, get in a panic, lose sleep, get worked up, get in a fluster, get overwrought, be on tenterhooks• informal have butterflies in one's stomach, get stressed, get in a flap, get in a state, get in a tizz/tizzy, get in a sweat, sweat, get steamed up, get in a lather, stew, torture oneself, torment oneselfBritish • informal be in a blue funkalarming, worrisome, daunting, perturbing, trying, taxing, vexatious, niggling, bothersome, troublesome, unsettling, harassing, harrying, harrowing, nerve-racking; distressing, dismaying, disquieting, upsetting, traumatic, unpleasant, awkward, difficult, tricky, thorny, problematic, grave• informal scary, hairy, sticky, prickly, anxious-making
- Police had worried about trouble after the match but apart from a few incidents of drunkenness the upset didn't cause patrols any problems.
- But looking at the food which seemed somewhat unsanitary, we worried about whether it would cause other problems later.
- It made you do silly things and it gave you an awful headache, but we never worried about the risks, let alone the long-term health consequences.
- 1.1 [with object] (worry something out) Discover or solve something by persistent thought: children should be allowed to pause in their reading to worry out a meaningMore example sentences
- I have been worrying it out since the day you two were born!
- Something was nagging away in the back of my skull, but I was too distracted to worry it out, fixated by the sight of her dipping the tip of the knife into the jar and withdrawing a small dollop of a dark syrupy liquid.
- It came to me, while I worried it out, last night.
- 2 [with object] Annoy or disturb: the noise never really stops, but it doesn’t worry meMore example sentences
trouble, bother, cause anxiety, make anxious, disturb, distress, upset, concern, disquiet, discompose, fret, agitate, unsettle, perturb, frighten, alarm, scare, fluster, flurry, stress, strain, tax, harass, torment, plague, bedevil, besiege, irk, vex; prey on one's mind, weigh heavily on one's mind, weigh down, oppress, burden, be a great weight on, lie heavy on, gnaw at• informal hassle, give someone a hard time, throw, faze, rattle, bug, get to, do someone's head in, discombobulateNorth American • informal mess with someone's head
- The additional burdens of bureaucracy do not just worry British businesses.
- 3 [with object] (Of a dog or other carnivorous animal) tear at or pull about with the teeth: I found my dog contentedly worrying a boneMore example sentences
- They want to study it and dissect it, picking away at its component parts like a cat worrying a mouse.
- Blair and Howard are like two dogs worrying the same bone called ‘choice’.
- Something to focus her mind on, that it would not escape her grip and return to worrying at her grief as a dog worries a bone.
- 3.1(Of a dog) chase and attack (livestock, especially sheep): a farmer shot a dog that had been worrying sheepMore example sentences
- They would surely not be associated with the minority of hikers who leave gates open, stray from the footpaths or let their unattended dogs worry sheep but these people do exist.
- The law states that if dogs worry sheep in any way then farmers are within their rights to shoot them.
- It will certainly offer some protection in terms of sheep being worried by dogs that escape from hunters.
- 4 [no object] (worry at) Pull at or fiddle with repeatedly: he began to worry at the knot in the cordMore example sentences
- Its long-fingered little hands worried at the string.
- He shifted slightly in the black vinyl pants as he worried at the hem of his dark blue long sleeved silk shirt with black under tones.
noun (plural worries)[mass noun] Back to top
- 1The state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems: Mam says she’s demented with worryMore example sentences
anxiety, disturbance, perturbation, trouble, bother, distress, concern, care, upset, uneasiness, unease, disquiet, disquietude, disconcertment, fretfulness, restlessness, nervousness, nerves, agitation, edginess, tension, tenseness, stress, strain; apprehension, fear, fearfulness, dread, foreboding, trepidation, misgiving, angst• informal butterflies (in the stomach), the willies, the heebie-jeebies, the shakes, the jumps, jitteriness, twitchiness
- He was too anxious and full of worry about the upcoming war.
- Poor Melindisar must be quite anxious with worry by now.
- The result will be worry and potential poverty for millions, and for some losing their homes when they cannot keep up payments after retiring.
- 1.1 [count noun] A source of anxiety: he’s got financial worriesMore example sentences
- Financial worries, a stressful job, redundancy or fear of unemployment, even moving house, can trigger depression in vulnerable people.
- While some were losing their nerve amid mounting financial worries, the bullish chief executive insisted that the opportunity had to be seized.
- In contrast to his early years, his later life was marked by financial worries, frustration and disappointment.
not to worry
- • informal Used to reassure someone that a situation is not serious: not to worry—no harm doneMore example sentences
- Well, we discovered something really weird about them; actually, we heard it on the radio but not to worry.
- If you happen to be male, and in a relationship, and you also happen to forget what day it is - not to worry.
- This dinosaur committee is being erased this month, so not to worry.
- More example sentences
- There were some in there who were worriers more than I was, so we tried to keep them a bit more buoyant.
- Teenage turns everyone into compulsive worriers.
- That was ambivalent enough to intrigue Democratic worriers.
Old English wyrgan 'strangle', of West Germanic origin. In Middle English the original sense of the verb gave rise to the meaning 'seize by the throat and tear', later figuratively 'harass', whence 'cause anxiety to' (early 19th century, the date also of the noun).