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

n a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune

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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

n (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

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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

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