Entries linking to overanxious
word-forming element meaning variously "above; highest; across; higher in power or authority; too much; above normal; outer; beyond in time, too long," from Old English ofer (from PIE root *uper "over"). Over and its Germanic relations were widely used as prefixes, and sometimes could be used with negative force. This is rare in Modern English, but compare Gothic ufarmunnon "to forget," ufar-swaran "to swear falsely;" Old English ofercræft "fraud."
In some of its uses, moreover, over is a movable element, which can be prefixed at will to almost any verb or adjective of suitable sense, as freely as an adjective can be placed before a substantive or an adverb before an adjective. [OED]
Among the old words not now existing are Old English oferlufu (Middle English oferlufe), literally "over-love," hence "excessive or immoderate love." Over- in Middle English also could carry a sense of "too little, below normal," as in over-lyght "of too little weight" (c. 1400), overlitel "too small" (mid-14c.), overshort, etc.
1620s, "greatly troubled by uncertainties," from Latin anxius "solicitous, uneasy, troubled in mind" (also "causing anxiety, troublesome"), from angere, anguere "to choke, squeeze," figuratively "to torment, cause distress" (from PIE root *angh- "tight, painfully constricted, painful").
The same image is in Serbo-Croatian tjeskoba "anxiety," literally "tightness, narrowness." The meaning "earnestly desirous" (as in anxious to please) is from 1742. Related: Anxiously; anxiousness.
updated on October 23, 2019