Absolutely Anxious

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.

Freya with the letter AIt's April 1st, so the A to Z challenge is now officially started! Over the past few weeks, the approaching kickoff made me feel anxious. But what does that mean?  
 
Was I greatly worried or full of mental distress because of apprehension of danger or misfortune?
 
Or was I eager or looking forward to something?
 
I could be either one of those because anxious is a contronym. Saying I'm anxious could mean I'm excited about something, or it could mean I'm apprehensive about something. Both meanings for anxious usually produce a sensation in the gut, but one is a happy flutter and the other is a sad churning.
 
As for me being anxious for the start of the A to Z challenge, it's actually a little bit of both definitions. I've been looking forward to meeting lots of new blogging friends, but I've also been very worried about keeping up with the posts.
 
I also discovered that like a glass with water to the halfway mark, the way anxious is used might give a clue to the speaker's outlook on life. I almost always use anxious to mean I'm nervous (and assumed that's the way everyone else used it), and I'm definitely a glass half empty kind of gal. But while talking with my brother, who sees the glass as half full, he said he always uses anxious to mean he's excited. Granted this is only a two person sample, but I thought it was interesting that we mostly use anxious in different contexts.
 
And because visuals are always more fun:
 
Sarah was anxious to see her father...
Anxious - eager
 
 
... but she was anxious about meeting her stepmother.
Anxious - nervous
 
Since today's letter is A, I'd also like to say thank you to Arlee Bird for creating this crazy blogging challenge. It's such a great way to meet new people and to discover new things about the way we blog. Thanks, Arlee! 
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? Do you usually use anxious in the positive or negative sense and does that correlate with a half-full/half-empty outlook on life? How Adorable is Freya with her letter A?
 
 
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Comments

Julia Phillips Smith's picture

Happy Day 1 of A to Z! I mainly use anxious in terms of I-can't-wait-I-can't-wait.

But I'd be lying if I said I never felt anxious, as in get-me-out-of-here-can't-this-be-over. 

BlogwatiG's picture

You are so right. I am a 'half empty kinda anxious' person, now that you mention it. And I learnt a new term for something I knew randomly knew about. thank you for this post.

Patricia Lynne's picture

Wow, I never realized Anxious was a contranym. I knew it produced those different feelings, but it never dawned on me. I learned something! YAY! =D

Heidi Mannan's picture

First, Fraya is absolutely adorable! Thanks for the dose of cuteness this morning. You've taught me a new word, too. I've felt anxious in both the positive and negative sense. I tend to be a worrier, so I have no shortage of anxiety in my life. Sighhh.

Tarkabarka's picture

As an ESL person, I greatly approve of this blog. :)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Julia - You must be a mostly positive person like my brother.

BlogwatiG - I'm the anxious type, too. Glad I could introduce you to a new term.
 
Patricia - I was suprised by the number of common words that ended up being contronyms.
 
Heidi - Freya thanks you for the compliment! There will be a new dose of doggie cuteness each day. :-)
 
Tarkabarka - English is a crazy language! I can't believe how many words ended up having opposite meansings - it makes no sense!
Michelle Wallace's picture

Hey Jocelyn!

I'm looking forward to seeing the Rish doggies "in all their glory" during the A to Z...  doesn't Freya look proud? She's a darling...

I'm a glass-half-full-type-of-person, so the word anxious would hold a positive connotation. Very interesting. I look forward to your contronyms. (Some great Rish family Easter photos that I saw on Facebook...)  :)

Natalie Aguirre's picture

Great choice for A. I hadn't really thought of this word being used both ways, but you're right.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Michelle - Freya is pretty sweet... most of the time.  :-)

Natalie - Yeah, it hadn't really dawned on me either that anxious could be used to describe opposite feelings.

Maggie's picture

I recall in high school (?) English distinguishing between the two...anxious for nervous and eager for excitement. However, it's often interchanged by people. In my head am always correcting. lol  Although can be good anxiety too.

Pam's picture

Never heard of contronyms before but your posts are enlightening on the subject! Thanks!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Maggie - Yeah, that's the way I've always used them too: anxoious for nervous and eager for excitement.

Pam - Thanks, I'm having fun sharing this new-to-me term.

Medeia Sharif's picture

I know those two sides of anxiety. I feel the same way about A to Z. I'm struggling to keep up with comments. Great visuals. 

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Closing comments because of a persistent spammer.