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From Latin anxietās, from anxius (anxious, solicitous, distressed, troubled), from angō (to distress, trouble), akin to Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ánkhō, to choke). Equivalent to anxious +‎ -ety. See anger; angst.


  • IPA(key): /ˌæŋ(ɡ)ˈzaɪ.ə.ti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪɪti


anxiety (countable and uncountable, plural anxieties)

  1. An unpleasant state of mental uneasiness, nervousness, apprehension and obsession or concern about some uncertain event.
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 4, in The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      The inquest on keeper Davidson was duly held, and at the commencement seemed likely to cause Tony Palliser less anxiety than he had expected.
    • 2005, Plato, translated by Lesley Brown, Sophist, page 268a:
      But the other, because he's been immersed in arguments, gives the appearance of harbouring considerable anxiety and suspicion that he's ignorant of those matters he presents himself to others as an expert on.
  2. An uneasy or distressing desire (for something).
  3. (pathology) A state of restlessness and agitation, often accompanied by a distressing sense of oppression or tightness in the stomach.


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