Meaning of “anxious” in the English Dictionary

"anxious" in British English

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uk /ˈæŋk.ʃəs/ us /ˈæŋk.ʃəs/

anxious adjective (WORRIED)

B1 worried and nervous:

My mother always gets a bit anxious if we don't arrive when we say we will.
I saw my sister's anxious face at the window.
The drought has made farmers anxious about the harvest.

More examples

  • There was nothing in his demeanour that suggested he was anxious.
  • Knots of anxious people stood waiting in the hall.
  • I've never seen her worried or anxious in any way - she's so laid-back.
  • It's natural that you should feel anxious when you first leave home.
  • As the date of his operation drew near, he became more and more anxious.

anxious adjective (EAGER)

B2 eager to do something:

Developing countries that are anxious for hard currency can rarely afford to protect the environment.
[ + to infinitive ] I'm anxious to get home to open my presents.
[ + that ] I'm anxious that we get there on time because I don't think there'll be many seats left.

More examples

  • She eased the key into the lock, anxious not to wake anyone.
  • The mayor and the city council are anxious to avoid getting entangled in the controversy.
  • The universities are anxious to preserve their autonomy from central government.
  • I'm anxious to avoid the motorway at rush hour.
  • We left early, anxious to make it back to Florence before sundown.
adverb uk /ˈæŋk.ʃə us /ˈæŋk.ʃə


We waited anxiously by the phone.
Tomorrow the children will receive their anxiously (= eagerly) awaited presents.

(Definition of “anxious” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"anxious" in American English

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us /ˈæŋk·ʃəs/

wanting very much for something to happen; eager:

[ + to infinitive ] I’ve been anxious to meet you.
[ + to infinitive ] It was getting late, and I was anxious to get home.
adverb us /ˈæŋ·ʃəs·li/

We waited anxiously by the phone.

(Definition of “anxious” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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