Meaning of WORRY in English


I. ˈwər.]ē, ˈwə.r], ]i\ verb

( -ed/-ing/-es )

Etymology: Middle English wirien, werien, worien to strangle, worry with the teeth, from Old English wyrgan to strangle; akin to Old High German wurgen to strangle, Old Norse virgill halter, Lithuanian veržti to constrict, press, Old English wringan to wring

transitive verb

1. dialect Britain : choke , strangle


a. : to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat

wolves worry the sheep

the dog is worrying a bone

b. : to bite at or upon

worried his lower lip with his teeth — Jack Dillon

pounced on a hangnail and worried it with her teeth — Edna Ferber

c. : to touch, poke, or disturb (something) repeatedly

worried his breakfast rather than ate it — Charles Dickens

snores that seemed to worry the back of her nose — Richard Llewellyn

was worrying the pattern of the carpet with his toes

is learning to worry the sword of his opponent

d. : to change the position of, convey, or adjust usually in a specified place by repeated pushing, hauling, or moving back and forth

Lucas worried off the cap — John Updike

— often used with into

we inched a log to the bank … and worried it into the stream — Kenneth Roberts

the heavy implement had to be lifted …, worried into position, bolted into place — Time


a. : to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment : harass , torment

it was unseemly to the last degree that the disciples … should worry and vex each other with injurious treatment — William Cowper

the artillery worries the enemy with intermittent shelling

a ghost will worry him to the grave — Ernest Beaglehole

b. : to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort

France's government amended and worried the agreement right up to the last moment — Time

no other play in which Shakespeare worries a word like that — William Empson

opinions long since discussed and worried to the bone — Current History

— often used with out

will worry out the meaning of a pamphlet … beyond his capacity — J.A.R.Pimlott

professors … are apt to worry all the light and joy out of knowledge — M.B.Smith

hotels were worrying out ways to increase services — P.J.C.Friedlander

c. : to plague or beset with requests or demands : importune

needled and nudged and worried him till … he consented — Ellery Sedgwick

the child worries its parents with questions

— often used with out

teacher … began to worry the life out of me to complete it — David Fairchild

4. : to afflict with mental distress or agitation : make anxious : fret , trouble

a routine task which permits their minds to wander and … doesn't worry them at night — W.J.Reilly

his careful repetitions, his imaginative shortcuts … worry the academic mind — Margery Bailey

what's worrying you — Robert Keable

intransitive verb

1. dialect Britain : to become choked or strangled : choke

2. : to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort : struggle

the ancient car worries up the hill

— usually used with along or through

worried along six months trying to support a large … family — Scott Fitzgerald

one must worry through the work of the week

3. : to feel or experience concern, disquietude, or anxiety : fret

if her uncle had been troubled … a few years more served only to show how uselessly he had worried — Stark Young

although sheep and goats do not worry as we do, they can … be brought into states of chronic unrelieved tension — H.S.Liddell

— often used with about or over

began to worry about venturing so far from home in the new car — M.M.Musselman

pay … a good travel agent and let him worry about this sort of detail — Richard Joseph

worried over her husband's health — Ruth P. Randall


annoy , fret , harass , harry , nag , plague , pester , bother , tease , tantalize : worry suggests continued menacing, attacking, or disturbing to drive a quarry or enemy to despair, rashness, submission, or defeat

a policy of worrying the enemy

took on the mighty galleons like terriers worrying bulls — Nora Stirling & Ruth Knight

worried into his grave by the leaden-faced likeness of a British spy whom he had hanged — American Guide Series: New York

annoy may refer to continued molesting, intruding, interfering with, hectoring, or otherwise bedeviling until the victim is angered or discomposed

one or more dogs that will locate the lion … and are almost certain to annoy the wounded beast into disclosing himself sooner or later — James Stevenson-Hamilton

fret may suggest a rancorous eating or gnawing at or a continuing vexing that leaves one no peace

that hidden bond which at other moments galled and fretted him so as to mingle irritation with the very sunshine — George Eliot

fretting their team into skittishness and then pretending to be terror-stricken — H.L.Davis

harass may apply to continual attacks, persecutions, or exactions that fray, exhaust, or distract

harassed by the depredations of British raiders — American Guide Series: Connecticut

the new government was harassed by internal controversies and by assassinations, disorders, and insurrections — J.F.Bell

harry may suggest more directly oppressive persecution than harass

had been harrying the main pirate fleets about the coast of Cuba — Marjory S. Douglas

harrying Southern sympathizers by arbitrary arrests — Encyc. Americana

nag indicates an annoying or discomposing by persistent rebuke or reminder about shortcomings

the only one who nagged him and tried to get him to behave himself — Delmore Schwartz

let her children's minds alone. She did not pry into their thoughts or nag them — Willa Cather

plague applies to tormenting affliction of painful disease or something likened to it

the gastric disturbance which has been plaguing him for years — Newsweek

the civil war which has plagued the republic since its inception — Americana Annual

horse thieves were the worst nuisance, next to Indians; and they would go on plaguing Texas for thirty years — Green Peyton

pester may suggest constant annoyance by or like that by vermin or children

pestered with incredible swarms of flies, fleas, and bugs — Tobias Smollett

pester the president with urgencies which perhaps no other man in Washington would have ventured — S.H.Adams

bother indicates vexatious troubling, often continued, that interferes with composure, serenity, or concentration

bothered by incompetence in many places, ignorance in others and downright double-dealing in still others — F.V.W.Mason

bothered with a lot of phone calls asking you to this luncheon and that meeting — W.H.Whyte

tease applies to the annoyance of either repeated importunities or vexing railleries

I say you cannot go and I will not be teased about it — Pearl Buck

tantalize suggests awakening expectation and withholding or frustrating satisfaction

a young dancer, holding aloft in one arm an infant whom she tantalizes with a bunch of grapes held high in the other hand — American Guide Series: Massachusetts

low islands swing over the horizon and tantalized us with the belief that they were mainland — Farley Mowat

Synonym: see in addition annoy .

II. noun

( -es )


a. : mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated : anxiety

got on better with my work, being free of worry — Mary Webb

hours of … careful thought, new administrative problems, worry — Bruce Payne

was in a state of worry because of fear for the loss of her commercial eminence — A.F.Harlow

b. : an instance or occurrence of such distress or agitation

after a while … my mind comes out of the worry and I start thinking straight — Bant Singer

is in a great worry about her school grades

c. : a cause of worry : trouble , difficulty , complication

has another serious worry about the boys, their tendency to steal

a bother and a worry … is the London traffic — Richard Joseph

his biggest worry is transportation

— often used in plural

was also in better health and spirits … fairly free from worries — Havelock Ellis

wearied him … with household worries — Haldane Macfall

few are without financial worries

d. : a state of unease and irritability in quadruped mammals resulting from exposure to biting arthropods (as flies or ticks) ; also : an organism causing such worry

2. : the act or process of seizing an animal with the teeth and shaking it so as to kill or injure it

the corpse of the otter was thrown to the hounds … in the worry — Eric Bennett

Synonyms: see care

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.