Etymology: Middle English worien, from Old English wyrgan; akin to Old High German wurgen to strangle, Lithuanian veržti to constructionct
Date: before 12th century
1. dialect British choke, strangle
a. to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat
b. to shake or pull at with the teeth <a terrier worrying a rat> c. to touch or disturb something repeatedly d. to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling 3. a. to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment ; torment b. to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort 4. to afflict with mental distress or agitation ; make anxious intransitive verb 1. dialect British strangle, choke 2. to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort ; struggle 3. to feel or experience concern or anxiety ; fret <worrying about his health> • worriedly adverb • worrier noun • worryingly adverb Synonyms: worry, annoy, harass, harry, plague, pester, tease mean to disturb or irritate by persistent acts. worry implies an incessant goading or attacking that drives one to desperation <pursued a policy of worrying the enemy>. annoy implies disturbing one's composure or peace of mind by intrusion, interference, or petty attacks <you're doing that just to annoy me>. harass implies petty persecutions or burdensome demands that exhaust one's nervous or mental power <harassed on all sides by creditors>. harry may imply heavy oppression or maltreatment <the strikers had been harried by thugs>. plague implies a painful and persistent affliction <plagued all her life by poverty>. pester stresses the repetition of petty attacks <constantly pestered with trivial complaints>. tease suggests an attempt to break down one's resistance or rouse to wrath <children teased the dog>. II. noun (plural worries) Date: 1804 1. a. mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated ; anxiety b. an instance or occurrence of such distress or agitation 2. a cause of worry ; trouble, difficulty Synonyms: see care
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.