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n. pl. anx·i·e·ties
a. A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.
b. A cause of anxiety: For some people, air travel is a real anxiety.
2. Psychiatry A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
3. Eager, often agitated desire: my anxiety to make a good impression.

[Latin ānxietās, from ānxius, anxious; see anxious.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ties
1. a state of uneasiness or tension caused by apprehension of possible future misfortune, danger, etc; worry
2. intense desire; eagerness
3. (Psychology) psychol a state of intense apprehension or worry often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shaking, intense feelings in the gut, etc, common in mental illness or after a very distressing experience. See also angst
[C16: from Latin anxietas; see anxious]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(æŋˈzaɪ ɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. distress or uneasiness caused by fear of danger or misfortune.
2. earnest but tense desire: a keen anxiety to succeed.
3. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.
[1515–25; < Latin anxietās]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
anguish, anxious, anxiety - Anguish, anxious, and anxiety come from Latin angere, "to choke, squeeze, strangle."
See also related terms for squeeze.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. Anxiety flowed through the core of his bones like lava —Calder Willingham
  2. (It is in those marriages and love affairs which are neither good or bad … that) anxiety flows like a muddy river —Norman Mailer
  3. Anxiety … is somewhat like a blow on the head —Delmore Schwartz
  4. Anxiety moved like a current through his belly —Bernard Malamud
  5. Anxiety receives them like a grand hotel —W. H. Auden
  6. Anxious as a law associate during his sixth year with a major law firm —Elyse Sommer
  7. Anxious as an aspiring Miss Universe contestant sequestered in a soundproof booth and brought out moments later to tell what she loves most about America —Susan Barron, New York Times/Hers
  8. Anxious as a mid-level manager in a corporate takeover —Mike Sommer
  9. Anxious as an investor watching his stock go down —Anon
  10. Anxious as a taxpayer with an audit notice from the IRA —Anon
  11. As worried as she would have been over a lover she had cared for passionately —Sumner Locke Elliott
  12. A case of the dreads so thick they seemed to whistle out the heating ducts and swarm the room like a dark mistral —Richard Ford
  13. Desperation rising from him like a musk —Paule Marshall
  14. A feeling of foreboding … like a wind stirring the tapestry, an ominous chill —Evelyn Waugh
  15. A feeling of vague anxiety … snuffling about me like cold-nosed rodents, like reading of a favorite baseball player whose star has descended to the point where he parks cars at a restaurant or sits in a room above a delicatessen in Indianapolis, drinking vodka and waiting for his pension —W. P. Kinsella
  16. Felt as if a serpent had begun to coil round his limbs —George Eliot
  17. Felt as if her nerves were being stretched more tightly, like strings on violin pegs —Leo Tolstoy
  18. Felt chilled as by the breath of death’s head —Victor Hugo
  19. Felt like a switchboard with all my nerves on Emergency Alert —Dorothy B. Francis
  20. Frantic as a mouse in a trap —Anon
  21. Had a chill and heavy feeling in his stomach like a lump of lead —Vicki Baum
  22. Her mild, constant worries had engraved no lines in her bisque china face but had gradually cracked it like a very old plate —Lael Tucker Wertenbaker
  23. His heart seemed to slide like the hook on a released pulley —Frank Swinnerton
  24. I’m’bout as worried as a pregnant fox in a forest fire —Peter Benchley
  25. Over it [a face that had looked hopeful] now lay like a foreign substance a film of anxiety —Thomas Hardy
  26. Second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily off and on —Charles Dickens
  27. Stress is like an iceberg. We can see one-eighth of it above, but what about what’s below —Patrice O’Connor
  28. Suspended in his own anxiety as if in a cloudy solution of some acid —Lawrence Durrell
  29. There is the same pain and panic (when your computer locks up) as when you have an attack of appendicitis —Brendan Gill quoted New York Times, August 2, 1986 in article by William E. Geist about a man (computer tutor Bruce Stark,) who helps people with their computer problems.
    This is typical of similes that are borrowed and modified to fit a personal sphere of interest.
  30. Unease … it slipped out without his being able to control it, like sweat from his pores —Clive Barker
  31. Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere —Anon
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



(See also FEAR.)

butterflies A queasy feeling in the stomach caused by anxiety, nervousness, fear, or excitement; the jitters, the willies, the heebie-jeebies; usually in the phrase to have butterflies in one’s stomach. The term, in use since 1908, provides an apt description of the fluttering sensation felt in the pit of the stomach during times of extreme anxiety or nervous tension.

cliff-hanger Any event or situation in which the outcome is suspensefully uncertain up until the very last moment. The term was originally applied to a serial film in which each episode ended with the hero or heroine left in a perilous plight, such as hanging from a cliff, so that the viewers anxiously awaited the next installment. The extended figurative sense of the term, and the only one commonly heard today, has been in use since at least 1948.

fussy as a hen with one chick Overprotective, overanxious, overparticular and fussy. A hen with one chick, as any mother with only one child, tends to be more possessive and protective than a parent with many offspring. This tendency usually manifests itself in finicky, fretful behavior.

get the wind up To be nervous; to be distressed or anxious. This British expression is similar to the American slang jumpy ‘tense, edgy.’ An analogous British colloquialism, put the wind up, carries a somewhat stronger sense of dread or fright.

I tell you you’ve absolutely put the wind up Uncle Bob and Peter! They’re scared to death of your finding them up. (C. Alington, Strained Relations, 1922)

high-strung Nervous, tense, edgy; thin-skinned, sensitive, spirited. This expression, dating from the late 14th century, literally means ‘strung to a high tension or pitch.’ The allusion is probably to stringed musical instruments: the tighter the string, the higher the pitch. Taut strings are also more brittle and thus more likely to break.

Writers often tend to be high-strung creatures. (M. Lowry, Letters, 1946)

keyed up Excited, high-strung; nervous, tense; intensified, stimulated; psyched up (for), full of nervous energy and anticipation. The verb key refers literally to tuning a musical instrument —that is, raising or lowering the pitch. Since the 17th century this term has been applied figuratively to a person’s thoughts and feelings that affect the overall color or tone of his mood. Thus “key up” is to heighten, intensify, or stimulate feelings.

Although he was emotionally keyed up, Sherman yawned. (Carson McCullers, Clock Without Hands, 1961)

like a cat in a strange garret Uneasy, nervous; fearful, afraid. This expression is an allusion to the behavior of a cat in strange surroundings. The March 16, 1824 edition of the Woodstock [Vermont] Observer contains the phrase:

“What was King Caucus like?” said an old gentleman. “Why, like a cat in a strange garret, frightened at every step it took.”

like a cat on a hot tin roof Very uncomfortable, uneasy, nervous. This self-evident expression is a more current variant of like a cat on hot bricks. The latter dates from 1862 and has the additional meanings ‘swiftly, nimbly.’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was the title of a 1955 play by Tennessee Williams.

on pins and needles Apprehensive, anxious; in a state of nervous or uneasy anticipation; on tenterhooks. Pins and needles refers to the tingly, prickly sensation felt in the arms and legs when they are recovering from having been numbed or “asleep.” Although a person who is “on pins and needles” might not be experiencing the attendant physical sensations, the expression implies that he is.

He was plainly on pins and needles, did not know whether to take or to refuse a cigar. (Pall Mall Magazine, August, 1897)

on tenterhooks Taut with anxiety; in a state of painful suspense of expectation; tense, uneasy, on edge. Tenterhooks are literally the hooks of a tenter, i.e., the frame on which cloth is stretched to shape it. The word was used figuratively as early as the late 17th century; The Winthrop Papers records a 1692 usage of “the tenterhooks of expectation” by G. Saltonstall. In Roderick Random (1748) Tobias Smollett writes:

I left him upon the tenter-hooks of impatient uncertainty.

Eventually such explanatory phrases became elliptically understood, leaving us with the now common on tenterhooks.

on the anxious seat In a state of apprehension or suspense; in a state of difficulty or doubt. The figurative expression derives from the literal anxious seat or bench, or mourners’ bench, of American revivalist camp meetings, on which penitents desirous of forgiveness and seeking conversion were wont to sit while anxiously awaiting the call or sign of salvation. The term was used in its still current figurative sense early in this century:

The entire diplomatic corps at Havana is … on the “anxious bench.” (New York Evening Post, November 1, 1906)

on the rack Under great pressure or strain; in painful suspense or acute psychological torment; on tenterhooks; tense, anxious, nervous. The rack, a former instrument of torture, consisted of a frame with rollers at either end to which the victim’s ankles and wrists were attached in order to stretch his joints. The expression on the rack was used figuratively for psychological suffering as early as the 16th century.

… Let me choose, For as I am, I live upon the rack. (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice III, ii)

the screaming meemies Excessive fretfulness or uneasiness; the jitters, the heebie-jeebies; fear-induced delirium. In World War II, American soldiers originated this phrase as a nickname for the German rocket shells. The terrifying noise and devastating effect of these weapons caused anyone within earshot to be petrified with fear. While the expression is still used today for dread and horror, it is occasionally applied jocularly to the extremes of other emotional states, such as frightful boredom.

Madison [Wisconsin] is a town that would give the ordinary thrill seeker the screaming meemies in one quiet weekend. (G. S. Penny, in Saturday Evening Post, January 1945)

sit tight See PATIENCE

sit upon hot cockles See IMPATIENCE.

sweat blood To worry or agonize; to be apprehensive or anxious; to be heavy-hearted; to be under a great strain. This expression and its variant, a bloody sweat, allude to Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane:

And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:44)

These expressions have been used figuratively in various contexts, most of which refer to suffering occasioned by awaiting a likely, if not inevitable, fate.

War … which yet, to sack us, toils in bloody sweat to enlarge the bounds of conquering Thessalie. (Thomas Kyd, Cornelia, 1594)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.anxiety - (psychiatry) a relatively permanent state of worry and nervousness occurring in a variety of mental disorders, usually accompanied by compulsive behavior or attacks of panicanxiety - (psychiatry) a relatively permanent state of worry and nervousness occurring in a variety of mental disorders, usually accompanied by compulsive behavior or attacks of panic
psychiatry, psychological medicine, psychopathology - the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders
mental condition, mental state, psychological condition, psychological state - (psychology) a mental condition in which the qualities of a state are relatively constant even though the state itself may be dynamic; "a manic state"
castration anxiety - (psychoanalysis) anxiety resulting from real or imagined threats to your sexual functions; originally applied only to men but can in principle apply to women
hypochondria, hypochondriasis - chronic and abnormal anxiety about imaginary symptoms and ailments
overanxiety - excessive anxiety
scare, panic - sudden mass fear and anxiety over anticipated events; "panic in the stock market"; "a war scare"; "a bomb scare led them to evacuate the building"
2.anxiety - a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortuneanxiety - a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune
emotion - any strong feeling
worry, trouble - a strong feeling of anxiety; "his worry over the prospect of being fired"; "it is not work but worry that kills"; "he wanted to die and end his troubles"
concern, fear, care - an anxious feeling; "care had aged him"; "they hushed it up out of fear of public reaction"
disquiet, anxiousness - a feeling of mild anxiety about possible developments
insecurity - the anxiety you experience when you feel vulnerable and insecure
disquietude, edginess, inquietude, uneasiness - feelings of anxiety that make you tense and irritable
sinking feeling, sinking - a feeling caused by uneasiness or apprehension; "with a sinking heart"; "a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach"
misgiving, qualm, scruple - uneasiness about the fitness of an action
jitteriness, jumpiness, nervousness, restiveness - the anxious feeling you have when you have the jitters
angst - an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
sự lo lắng


A. N
1. (= concern) → preocupación f, inquietud f
he expressed his anxieties about the futureexpresó su preocupación or inquietud por el futuro
we've had a lot of anxiety over the children's healthhemos estado muy preocupados por la salud de los niños
it is a great anxiety to meme preocupa mucho
2. (= keenness) → ansia f, afán m
anxiety to do sthansia or afán de hacer algo
in his anxiety to leave, he forgot his caseestaba tan ansioso por irse que olvidó su maleta
3. (Med, Psych) → ansiedad f, angustia f
B. CPD anxiety attack Nataque m de ansiedad
anxiety neurosis Nneurosis f inv de ansiedad
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[æŋˈzaɪɪti] n
(= fear) → anxiété f
anxiety over sth, anxiety about sth → anxiété en ce qui concerne qch
(PSYCHOLOGY, PSYCHIATRY)anxiété f anxiety attack
(= keenness) anxiety to do sth → grand désir m de faire qch
his anxiety to please → son grand désir de plaire
his anxiety to do well → son grand désir de réussiranxiety attack ncrise f d'angoisse
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Sorge f; to feel anxietysich (dat)Sorgen machen (about um, at wegen); no cause for anxietykein Grund zur Sorge or Besorgnis; to cause somebody anxietyjdm Sorgen machen
(= keen desire)Verlangen nt; in his anxiety to get awayweil er unbedingt wegkommen wollte
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[æŋˈzaɪətɪ] n
a.ansia, ansietà f inv
I have no anxieties about them → non sono in ansia per loro
it is a great anxiety to me → è una grossa preoccupazione per me
b. (eagerness) anxiety (to do sth)smania (di fare qc)
in his anxiety to be gone he forgot his case → nella furia or fretta di andarsene si è dimenticato la borsa
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈӕŋkʃəs) adjective
1. worried about what may happen or have happened. She is anxious about her father's health.
2. causing worry, fear or uncertainty. an anxious moment.
3. wanting very much (to do etc something). He's very anxious to please.
ˈanxiously adverb
anxiety (aŋˈzaiəti) noun
His health is a great anxiety to me; filled with anxiety about her child's health.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


قَلَق úzkost angst Ängstlichkeit ανησυχία ansiedad ahdistus anxiété tjeskoba ansia 心配 불안 angst engstelse niepokój ansiedade беспокойство ängslan ความวิตกกังวล endişe sự lo lắng 焦虑
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. ansiedad, angustia; estado de preocupación excesiva; aprehensión, abatimiento de ánimo, desasosiego;
___ attackcrisis de ___;
___ disorderstrastornos ___;
___ neurosisneurosis de ___.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n ansiedad f, angustia; performance — ansiedad de ejecución or desempeño
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
But in spite of this lowest-grade greeting, a look of anxiety and fear, as at the sight of something too large and unsuited to the place, came over her face when she saw Pierre enter.
Was the tribute of his grief for the husband sternly suppressed under the expression of his anxiety for the wife?
Lucille, who was looking pale and nervous, regarded him with anxiety.
Those about whom there was the most anxiety were the Pope and the Venetians.
She could not conceal her uneasiness at this letter; with the contents of which she had no sooner acquainted the company, and given some hints of her distress, than Jones, her good angel, presently relieved her anxiety. "As for myself, madam," said he, "my lodging is at your service at a moment's warning; and Mr Nightingale, I am sure, as he cannot yet prepare a house fit to receive his lady, will consent to return to his new lodging, whither Mrs Nightingale will certainly consent to go." With which proposal both husband and wife instantly agreed.
But, in spite of that, the mother had spent the whole of that winter in a state of terrible anxiety and agitation.
The anxiety in which, for three days, London society existed, cannot be described.
But I have also seen his eyes rest fondly upon the faces in the room, upon the pictures on the wall, upon all the familiar objects of that home, whose abiding and clear image must have flashed often on his memory in times of stress and anxiety at sea.
Casaubon's bodily condition beyond the mental sign of anxiety to know the truth about his illness, she was silent for a few moments, wondering whether she had said or done anything to rouse this new anxiety.
Many had shown themselves eager to see the perfidious blood of the guilty Cornelius flow, but not one had shown such a keen anxiety as the individual just alluded to.
I did not despair of still finding that evidence, and I had lost none of my anxiety to discover it, for I had lost none of my interest in tracing the father of the poor creature who now lay at rest in Mrs.
She had boys enough now, and did not tire of them, though they were not angels, by any means, and some of them caused both Professor and Professorin much trouble and anxiety. But her faith in the good spot which exists in the heart of the naughtiest, sauciest, most tantalizing little ragamuffin gave her patience, skill, and in time success, for no mortal boy could hold out long with Father Bhaer shining on him as benevolently as the sun, and Mother Bhaer forgiving him seventy times seven.