Apprehend vs apprehensive

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Apprehend and apprehensive are two words that are rooted in the same origin but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of apprehend and apprehensive, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Apprehend may mean to arrest someone suspected of a crime, or to understand a fact or concept. The word apprehend is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are apprehend, apprehended, apprehending, apprehension. The word apprehend is derived from the Latin word apprehendere, which means to grasp or get hold of.

Apprehensive describes the feeling that something bad will happen, or feeling anxious or uneasy about the future. Apprehensive is an adjective, related words are the nouns apprehension and apprehensiveness as well as the adverb apprehensively. It is also derived from the Latin word apprehendere.  Presumably, the idea is that anxiety or unease takes hold of the person in question.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers last month identified and apprehended two men who were wanted by Guam law enforcement authorities, according to a news release issued Wednesday. (The Pacific Daily News)

Hazleton police intended to apprehend a city man on drug charges last week and though he evaded them, they didn’t give up their pursuit and took him into custody Thursday afternoon. (The Standard Speaker)

A Bendigo family holidaying in Las Vegas has described as apprehensive the city’s mood just hours after a gunman shot dead 59 people and wounded another 500. (The Bendigo Advertiser)

The two love birds are apprehensive but respectful and understanding about the full effect of their romantic adventure and what it portends for their mothers. (The Nation)