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[wur-ee, wuhr-ee] /ˈwɜr i, ˈwʌr i/
verb (used without object), worried, worrying.
to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.
to move with effort:
an old car worrying uphill.
verb (used with object), worried, worrying.
to torment with cares, anxieties, etc.; trouble; plague.
to seize, especially by the throat, with the teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does another.
to harass by repeated biting, snapping, etc.
noun, plural worries.
a worried condition or feeling; uneasiness or anxiety.
a cause of uneasiness or anxiety; trouble.
act of worrying.
Fox Hunting. the action of the hounds in tearing to pieces the carcass of a fox.
Verb phrases
worry along/through, Informal. to progress or succeed by constant effort, despite difficulty:
to worry through an intolerable situation.
no worries, Informal. Don’t be troubled; it is of no concern:
If you can’t make it to the party, no worries.
Also, not to worry.
Origin of worry
before 900; Middle English weryen, werwen, wyrwyn to strangle, bite, harass, Old English wyrgan to strangle; cognate with German würgen
Related forms
worrier, noun
worriless, adjective
worryingly, adverb
3. tease, harry, hector, badger, disquiet. Worry, annoy, harass all mean to disturb or interfere with someone's comfort or peace of mind. To worry is to cause anxiety, apprehension, or care: to worry one's parents. To annoy is to vex or irritate by continued repetition of interferences: to annoy the neighbors. Harass implies long-continued worry and annoyance: Cares of office harass a president. 6. apprehension, solicitude, disquiet, misgiving, fear. See concern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for worrying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Remember it does not pay, and life is too short there for you to spend it in worrying.

  • They were irritating, hectoring, worrying, frantic messages.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • "Well, for one I'm not worrying about their not going along," remarked George, as he rubbed away with a bit of waste.

  • Let them do the worrying now, as he had done the worrying and dodging in the past!

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Otto, beside the helmsman, was worrying him—neither with the weather, nor with the question of treasure.

    The Boy With the U.S. Miners Francis Rolt-Wheeler
British Dictionary definitions for worrying


verb -ries, -rying, -ried
to be or cause to be anxious or uneasy, esp about something uncertain or potentially dangerous
(transitive) to disturb the peace of mind of; bother: don't worry me with trivialities
(intransitive; often foll by along or through) to proceed despite difficulties
(intransitive) often foll by away. to struggle or work: to worry away at a problem
(transitive) (of a dog, wolf, etc) to lacerate or kill by biting, shaking, etc
when intr, foll by at. to bite, tear, or gnaw (at) with the teeth: a dog worrying a bone
(transitive) to move as specified, esp by repeated pushes: they worried the log into the river
(transitive) to touch or poke repeatedly and idly
(obsolete) to choke or cause to choke
(informal) not to worry, you need not worry
noun (pl) -ries
a state or feeling of anxiety
a person or thing that causes anxiety
an act of worrying
(informal) no worries, an expression used to express agreement or to convey that something is proceeding or has proceeded satisfactorily; no problem
Derived Forms
worrying, adjective
worryingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English wyrgan; related to Old Frisian wergia to kill, Old High German wurgen (German (er)würgen to strangle), Old Norse virgill, urga rope
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 worrying



Old English wyrgan "to strangle," from West Germanic *wurgijanan (cf. Middle Dutch worghen, Dutch worgen, Old High German wurgen, German würgen "to strangle," Old Norse virgill "rope"), from PIE *wergh- "to turn" (see wring). Related: Worrisome; worrying.

The oldest sense was obsolete in English after c.1600; meaning "annoy, bother, vex," first recorded 1670s, developed from that of "harass by rough or severe treatment" (1550s), as of dogs or wolves attacking sheep. Meaning "to cause mental distress or trouble" is attested from 1822; intransitive sense of "to feel anxiety or mental trouble" is first recorded 1860.


1804, from worry (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for worrying

worm out of something

verb phrase

To evade or avoid an unpleasant situation, esp by ignominious means: This time we have him dead to rights, and he won't worm out of it (1893+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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