Apprehensive vs reprehensive

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Apprehensive and reprehensive are two words that are very similar in pronunciation and spelling, and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the word apprehensive and reprehensive, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

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. Anxiety has become a major mental health disorder, and may display symptoms as minimal as a slight sense of foreboding to a feeling of all-out panic. The word apprehensive is also used in rare instances to describe the ability to perceive something. It is derived from the Latin word apprehendere, which means to grasp or take hold of. Presumably, the idea is that anxiety or unease takes hold of the person in question.

Reprehensive describes someone who is deserving of rebuke, someone who has perpetrated something that deserves censure or some type of reprimand. Reprehensive is an adjective, related words are the noun reprehension and the adverb reprehensively. The word reprehensive is derived from the Latin word reprehendere which means to blame or rebuke.


She said: “I am a little apprehensive about visiting North Korea due to the recent media coverage, but mainly I am really excited to have the opportunity to visit and experience life there.” (The Oxfordshire Guardian)

Andy Zagata has been farming for decades, so he was apprehensive about changing the way he works the land. (The Standard Speaker)

The disrespectful and reprehensive behaviour of our youths at the Nothing To Hide 2 forum recently, has me equally angry and sad. (Malaysiakini)

We have a serious and continued pattern of bad behavior,” she said, blasting his “reprehensive and vulgar” characterization of women. (The Mercury News)