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[ap-ri-hen-siv] /ˌæp rɪˈhɛn sɪv/
uneasy or fearful about something that might happen:
apprehensive for the safety of the mountain climbers.
quick to learn or understand.
perceptive; discerning (usually followed by of).
Origin of apprehensive
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin apprehēnsīvus. See apprehensible, -ive
Related forms
apprehensively, adverb
apprehensiveness, noun
nonapprehensive, adjective
overapprehensive, adjective
overapprehensively, adverb
overapprehensiveness, noun
pseudoapprehensive, adjective
pseudoapprehensively, adverb
unapprehensive, adjective
unapprehensively, adverb
unapprehensiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for apprehensively
  • Some people on motorbikes looked apprehensively to see where the firing was coming from.
  • It needn't be apprehensively approached as a moral or cultural obligation, or as an act of social consciousness-raising.
  • She stops, glancing around apprehensively, as if someone might contradict her.
  • In return, society began to view the police more apprehensively.
  • In the fall everyone aboard scanned the skies apprehensively for weather signs and viewed the first ice with sinking hearts.
  • We inhabitants of cloth houses, looked somewhat apprehensively towards it.
British Dictionary definitions for apprehensively


fearful or anxious
Derived Forms
apprehensively, adverb
apprehensiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apprehensively



late 14c., "capable of perceiving, fitted for mental impression," from Medieval Latin apprehensivus, from Latin apprehensus, past participle of apprehendere (see apprehend). Meaning "fearful of what is to come" is recorded from 1718, via notion of "capable of grasping with the mind" (c.1600). Related: Apprehensively; apprehensiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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