From the OED Word of the Day
anxiety SECOND EDITION 1989
(æzat) [ad. L. anxiett-em, n. of quality f. anxi-us: see ANXIOUS, and -TY.]
1. The quality or state of being anxious; uneasiness or trouble of mind about some uncertain event; solicitude, concern.
c1525 M De Quat. Noviss. Wks. 1557, 91 There dyed he without grudge, without anxietie. a1631 D Select. (1840) 25 Temporal prosperity comes always accompanied with much anxiety. 1714 Spect. No. 615 1 It is the Business of Religion and Philosophy to free us from all unnecessary Anxieties. 1849 M Hist. Eng. I. 200 The United Provinces saw with anxiety the progress of his arms.
2. Strained or solicitous desire (for or to effect some purpose).
1769 Junius Lett. i. 3 Anxiety..for the general welfare. 1833 I. T Fanat. viii. 304 Every man's anxiety to obtain for himself the inestimable pearl of genuine knowledge.
3. Path. 'A condition of agitation and depression, with a sensation of tightness and distress in the præcordial region.' Syd. Soc. Lex. 1880.
1661 L Hist. Anim. & Min. 368 The paine and anxiety of the ventricle. 1732 A Rules of Diet 303 The Blood..pressing upon the heart creates great Anxieties. 1844 T. G Dom. Med. 277 [Angina pectoris] is an acute constrictive pain..attended with anxiety, difficulty of breathing, and a sense of suffocation.
4. Psychiatry. A morbid state of mind characterized by unjustified or excessive anxiety, which may be generalized or attached to particular situations. Freq. attrib. and Comb., as anxiety-producing, -ridden adjs.; anxiety complex (cf. COMPLEX n. 3); anxiety hysteria, a form of anxiety neurosis (see quot. 1923); anxiety neurosis [tr. G. angstneurose (Freud 1895, in Neurolog. Zentralbl. XIV. 55)], anxiety state, names technically applied to such a condition of anxiety.
1904 G. S. HALL Adolescence I. iv. 285 The anxiety neurosis was relatively more common in women than in men. 1909 A. A. B tr. Freud's Sel. Papers on Hysteria vi. 134, I call this symptom-complex 'anxiety neurosis' (Angstneurose) because the sum of its components can be grouped around the main symptom of anxiety. Ibid. vi. 136 A quantum of freely floating anxiety which controls the choice of ideas by expectation. 1912 Ibid. (ed. 2) xii. 210 We must slightly modify our procedure in anxiety-hysteria (phobias). 1913 Lancet 26 Apr. 1184/1 Anxiety dreams and anxiety neuroses represent a breaking down of this compromise. 1923 R. GABLER tr. Stekel's Conditions of Nervous Anxiety I. iii. 20 Freud..proposed to distinguish two sorts of anxiety neuroses: one with a pure somatic basis, Freud's genuine anxiety neurosis, and one with a psychical basis, which he terms 'anxiety hysteria'. 1926 W. M Outl. Abnormal Psychol. xiv. 269 The first factor in the production of the anxiety state is the bringing into activity of the instinct of flight. 1931 M. C. D'ARCY Nature of Belief ii. 39 Another cause for failure in reasoning is what has been called an anxiety state. Those who suffer from this are unable to make up their minds: they have had their balance upset by some shock to their old convictions, and as a consequence they oscillate to and fro. 1942 A. L. R Cornish Childhood 204 It undoubtedly produced an anxiety-complex, the combination of working hard with worry. 1958 New Biol. XXVII. 34 The tabu word which is presented subthreshold..is classified as an anxiety-producing word. 1960 C. D Buried Day iv. 64, I went to school, entering..a world insulated, self-important, artificial, anxiety-ridden.
5. Phr. Age of Anxiety: the title of W. H. Auden's poem applied as a catch-phrase to any period characterized by anxiety or danger.
1947 W. H. A (title) The Age of Anxiety. 1953 Economist 7 Nov. 413/1 The main change is to be found between the nineteenth and the twentieth century outlooks... A survey which ignores it..fails to achieve a complete relevance to the current Age of Anxiety. 1958 Times 11 Nov. 4/4 He [sc. Jackson Pollock] was very much an American product of the age of anxiety.