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See also: appréhensive



From Latin apprehensīvus, from apprehensus, perfect passive participle of apprehendō (to apprehend, understand, learn) + -īvus (-ive).


  • IPA(key): /ˌæpɹɪˈhɛnsɪv/
  • (file)


apprehensive (comparative more apprehensive, superlative most apprehensive)

  1. Anticipating something with anxiety, fear, or doubt; reluctant.
    • 1719 May 6 (Gregorian calendar), [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, →OCLC, page 28:
      This convinc'd me that there was no going on Shore for us in the Night upon that Coaſt, and how to venture on Shore in the Day was another Queſtion too; for to have fallen into the Hands of any of the Savages, had been as bad as to have fallen into the Hands of Lyons and Tygers; at leaſt we were equally apprehenſive of the Danger of it.
    • 1888–1891, Herman Melville, “[Billy Budd, Foretopman.] Chapter XI.”, in Billy Budd and Other Stories, London: John Lehmann, published 1951, →OCLC, pages 256–257:
      But Claggart's was no vulgar form of the passion. Nor, as directed toward Billy Budd, did it partake of that streak of apprehensive jealousy that marred Saul's visage perturbedly brooding on the comely young David. Claggart's envy struck deeper.
    • 1947 August, “Death Thumbs A Ride”, in Crime Does Not Pay[1], number 54, page 45:
      Never before in his life had Dan Holland feared anything, but now he was apprehensive for the safety of this trim blond creature before him.
  2. (obsolete) Perceptive; quick to learn; capable of understanding using one's intellect.

Derived terms[edit]