All the three words seem to be interchangeable and I have searched Cambridge Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries link: https://www.lexico.com/definition/nervous https://www.lexico.com/definition/anxious https://www.lexico.com/definition/fearful Cambridge Dictionary Link: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/nervous?q=Nervous https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/anxious https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fearful When can these three words and other words relating to “fear” used?Are they interchangeable?

  • These words are not generally interchangeable but you have the definitions. What about them is confusing you?
    – jwh20
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 12:19
  • 1
    Nervous and anxious are very similar in meaning; you can be nervous/anxious about a forthcoming event, or have a nervous temperament. Fearful implies that there is some definite thing to be afraid of. Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 13:29
  • @jwh20 For example, I have stage fright.So do I say that I am nervous or anxious?That was what was confusing all the while.
    – Genie
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 1:33

1 Answer 1


From 1-10, nervous is the least, followed by worried then anxious being the worst. Usually, nervous is like you are scared that something would frighten you. Talking about frightened, it is about being scarier than nervous. Worried is used to describe that someone had not arrived and you are worried. Anxious, on the other hand, is like that you know something bad has happened and you are worried.

  • What about other words that mean fearful?Could you attach a picture that states the intensity of all the synonyms of the word”fear”?Or something like a word thermometer?
    – Genie
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 15:46

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