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anxious seat

Also called anxious bench. Chiefly North Atlantic States and Southern and South Midland U.S. a seat reserved at a revival meeting for those troubled by conscience and eager for spiritual assistance.
a state of anxiety, especially about the outcome of a vote, negotiation, etc.:
Strikers have been in the anxious seat for the last three days.
Origin of anxious seat
1810-20, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Historical Examples
  • Your friend Sweeney, the proprietor, is on the anxious-seat.

  • To descend into that region implied the same process with the "anxious-seat" of the camp-meeting.

    Army Life in a Black Regiment Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • And here imagine a sigh which, for depth and pro-fun-dity, none but a sentimental old maid on the anxious-seat can heave.

    Folly as It Flies Fanny Fern
  • I verily believe you spent your time on the anxious-seat, and have caught the expression.

    The Chautauqua Girls At Home Pansy, AKA Isabella M. Alden

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