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Nuanced Words for 'Worried'

Expressing what you want to convey.

Pierre Tourigny, Flickr, CC 2.0
Source: Pierre Tourigny, Flickr, CC 2.0

You're worried. What word do you want to use to convey it? Perhaps one of these more nuanced variants of "worry" will accurately express it

Concerned: Worried, often rationally. I'm concerned about my inability to control my overeating.

Troubled, bothered, or perturbed: These are roughly equivalent formal synonyms for "concerned.” I'm troubled by my clients' lack of progress.

Stressed: Feeling emotional strain, although not necessarily worried. I'm stressed by the pressures of modern life.

Uneasy: Slightly to moderately worried. I'm feeling uneasy about the upcoming exam.

Disquieted: A formal word for "uneasy." I'm disquieted by the tenor of this country.

Upset: Like “uneasy or disquieted" but implying an emotional or physical reaction. I get upset at my partner's incessant complaining.

Distressed: A notch more upset than “upset” and more formal. I am distressed by the increased vitriol.

Apprehensive: Mildly or moderately worried about something upcoming. I'm apprehensive about the future of this company and, OK, my job.

Tense: Apprehensive, with the possibility of physically tightening. I grew tense as I sat in the waiting room.

Nervous: A specific worry or a general temperament, sometimes physically manifested. His rapid, high-pitched speech bespoke his nervous nature.

Distraught: Agitated with worry about something specific. The amniocentesis has left me distraught. Will my baby be born with a significant disability?

Scared: Filled with fear. If my spouse left, I'd be scared of becoming homeless.

Frightened: A more formal word for “scared.” When the doctor asked me to sit down and then sighed, I grew frightened.

Terrified: Very frightened. When he brandished a knife at me at the ATM, I was, of course, terrified.

Panicked. Consumed by fear. Every time I drive across a bridge, I get overwhelmed by panic.

Petrified: Rendered inert from fear. I was petrified when my boss caught me playing Wordle on company time.

Tormented: Suffering caused by a mental or physical issue, usually not transient. I'm tormented by my stubborn inability to get people to like me.

Shaken: Mentally and perhaps physically drained, usually after an occurrence. Having nearly hit a pedestrian, I was understandably shaken.

The takeaway

Whether verbally on in writing, accurately expressing what you intend, especially in the realm of emotion, is key to being understood, getting what you want, and living the life you want.

I read this aloud on YouTube.

This series' other installments offer nuanced words of intelligence, love, anger, happiness, and sadness.

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