Language Tips

to make someone feel worried

Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to talk about feelings. This week’s tip looks at verbs that mean to make someone feel worried over a long period:



prey on someone’s mind if something preys on your mind, you think about it and worry about it all the time:

  • Their criticisms preyed on my mind.

eat away at or gnaw (away) at someone to make someone feel more and more unhappy and worried:

  • The thought that she might leave ate away at him.
  • The only fear that gnaws at me is the fear of getting too old to function any more.

weigh on someone’s mind if a problem weighs on your mind, it worries you:

  • The decision to move has been weighing heavily on Eric’s mind.

tear someone apart to make someone feel very sad, upset or worried:

  • It just tears me apart to see you suffering like this.

torture someone to make someone feel extremely worried or upset about something:

  • Don’t torture yourself by thinking about the money.
  • He was tortured by the knowledge that he could have saved her.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘to make someone feel worried‘.

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Liz Potter

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