My wife was reading the news, her hands shaking, her mouth hanging open.

[...], I leaned over to have a peek.

Is there a word a bit "stronger" than curious? One that shows a bit of apprehension?

  • 1
    I originally misread your title (I thought you wanted a word stronger than curious which didn't have shades of worry); I've deleted my inapplicable answer. I think SpeedyGonzales' anxious is spot-on. You might also consider "concerned" or plain old worried.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:15
  • @DanBron You're right. How about now?
    – wyc
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:22
  • 3
    What was wrong with "Apprehensively..."?
    – Oldbag
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:32
  • Your title asks for "curious in a worried manner", but anxiously or hesitantly fits well into the blank in your example sentence. We can assume that the I in the sentence is motivated by curiosity. These two words alone mean nothing about curiosity. I think your question can be more helpful to other readers if you can make it clearer. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:38
  • Well, "to have a peek" is the very opposite of what you're looking for, so that's a start. Alarmed...
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 14:21

10 Answers 10



  • feeling or showing worry or solicitude.

The Free Dictionary


What do you think about anxious - worried and tense because of possible misfortune, danger, etc; uneasy.

  • I think that speedyGonazales makes a good point (I would, however, have used in that example the word 'troubled'). Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:42
  • Anxious means worried. The question asks for a word meaning curious and worried. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 13:39
  • 2
    to me, anxious has a dual meaning. "the children sat anxiously anticipating opening their christmas gifts". "The man was anxious about his upcoming dental surgery". I like anxious because it feels like it means your heart is going to race, but the reason it is racing is up to you. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 18:05
  • I use anxious more in the meaning of "nervously awaiting" and not so much as a negative feeling by itself. Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 14:56

Alarmed, I leaned over to have a look for myself.

  • Alarmed conjures images of alertness and action to my mind, which I think goes beyond the level of "advanced curiosity" the OP was aiming for.
    – TristanK
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 9:45
  • His wife's hands were shaking, no?
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 11:04
  • Yep, totally missed that on the first read, which makes it a good fit.
    – TristanK
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 13:45

If curious is your best adjective and you have already stated quite clearly the type of curiosity, I would suggest "apprehensively curious" for your solution.

There is no word that exemplifies curiosity with an undertone of worry. Perhaps this is because the two are somewhat in opposition. Saying "curious, yet apprehensive" might actually be more appropriate.


Would worried about fit?

worry about [sth/sb] vtr phrasal insep

be concerned or anxious about


I would say you looked over her shoulder with trepidation.

a feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen.

  • No. trepidation doesn't imply curious. Only fear.
    – smci
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 20:10
  • Hmm.. 'curious' = "eager to know or learn something." 'Trepidation' may not have the 'eagerness' of full curiosity, but I think if you're feeling fear at the same time then eagerness is going to be tempered anyway. I think 'trepidation' does still retain enough of a sense of anticipation about what's going to happen, though.
    – Muskworker
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 20:54

Maybe you were morbidly curious.

morbid (ˈmɔːbɪd) adjective -TFD

  1. (Psychology) having an unusual interest in death or unpleasant events
  • Truly concerned for your wife, you'd of asked what's the problem. Peaking at the paper was to satisfy your morbid curiosity.
    – Mazura
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 19:48

Apprehensive (adj.)

  1. anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

  2. archaic literary of or relating to perception or understanding.


If the "curiosity" aspect is more important, you might use intrigued.

This also has a faint hint of risk or danger by association with the idea of an intrigue, a secret or illicit plan. One can be intrigued by something that one is also afraid of, where it wouldn't be appropriate to use interested, for example.

  • 1
    Is there any evidence that intrigued, used in its first sense of interested/fascinated actually carries any connotation of danger, however faint? If you are merely speculating that it might do this for some people, better to say so. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:53

Perhaps it would be best to describe the effect: "Anxiously holding my breath, a question in my eyes, I leaned over..."

Some such description will not be the shortest answer, but it may evoke the clearest picture.

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