Anxiety is the vague, uneasy feeling you get when you're dreading something. Anxiety can also be a permanent state of nervousness that some people with mental illnesses experience, a milder version of panic.

When a scary or unpleasant event is looming, like getting a family portrait taken the year you have braces, you might feel some anxiety. You might also feel anxiety about passing chemistry, especially if you’ve skipped a lot of classes. Someone who suffers from a mild or severe mental illness might feel anxiety all the time. Deep breathing, playing relaxing music, and medication have all been known to help reduce anxiety.

Definitions of anxiety
  1. noun
    a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune
    see moresee less
    show 11 types...
    hide 11 types...
    discomfiture, discomposure, disconcertion, disconcertment
    anxious embarrassment
    trouble, worry
    a strong feeling of anxiety
    care, concern, fear
    an anxious feeling
    anxiousness, disquiet
    a feeling of mild anxiety about possible developments
    the anxiety you experience when you feel vulnerable and insecure
    disquietude, edginess, inquietude, uneasiness
    feelings of anxiety that make you tense and irritable
    sinking, sinking feeling
    a feeling caused by uneasiness or apprehension
    misgiving, qualm, scruple
    uneasiness about the fitness of an action
    jitteriness, jumpiness, nervousness, restiveness
    the anxious feeling you have when you have the jitters
    an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom
    feelings of uneasiness
    type of:
    any strong feeling
  2. noun
    (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
    synonyms: anxiousness
    see moresee less
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    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
    excessive anxiety
    panic, scare
    sudden mass fear and anxiety over anticipated events
    red scare
    a period of general fear of communists
    type of:
    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
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week