See also: appréhensive



(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


  • IPA(key): /ˌæpɹɪˈhɛnsɪv/
  • (file)


apprehensive (comparative more apprehensive, superlative most apprehensive)

  1. Anticipating something with anxiety or fear.
    • 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, OCLC 838630407, page 28:
      This convinc'd me that there was no going on Shore for us in the Night upon that Coaſt, and how to venture on Shore in the Day was another Queſtion too; for to have fallen into the Hands of any of the Savages, had been as bad as to have fallen into the Hands of Lyons and Tygers; at leaſt we were equally apprehenſive of the Danger of it.
    • 1888–1891, Herman Melville, “[Billy Budd, Foretopman.] Chapter XI.”, in Billy Budd and Other Stories, London: John Lehmann, published 1951, OCLC 639975898, pages 256–257:
      But Claggart's was no vulgar form of the passion. Nor, as directed toward Billy Budd, did it partake of that streak of apprehensive jealousy that marred Saul's visage perturbedly brooding on the comely young David. Claggart's envy struck deeper.
  2. Perceptive; quick to learn; capable of understanding using one's intellect.
    Synonym: quick on the uptake

Derived termsEdit