Why the words Apprehend and Apprehension have very different meaning, though they seem to have same root word.

Apprehend - to arrest someone Apprehension - fear, dread

  • It's a compound of Latin ad 'to' and prehendere 'to seize'. Hence the meaning of apprehend is obvious, but the origins of apprehension's meaning are foggier - perhaps they have something to do with fear seizing its victim, or with one's muscles seizing up in the face of danger.
    – Anonym
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 5:40
  • I guessed the same for apprehension, but im looking for stronger point.
    – NixPhix
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 5:50

1 Answer 1


Apprehension grips someone. From Etymonline apprehend:

mid-14c., "to grasp in the senses or mind," from Old French aprendre (12c.)... or directly from Latin apprehendere "to take hold of, grasp," from ad- "to" + prehendere "to seize". Metaphoric extension to "seize with the mind" took place in Latin, and was the sole sense of cognate Old French aprendre... Original sense returned in English in meaning "to seize in the name of the law, arrest," recorded from 1540s, which use probably was taken directly from Latin.

Of apprehension:

that of "anticipation" (usually with dread) is recorded from c. 1600.

From writing in English

  • When considerable time had passed and He did not return, I was seized by apprehension. I rose from my bed and left the apartment.
  • Deputy Bleeker grabbed a cab and left for home early, seized by apprehension for his future.
  • A vague sense of apprehension had him in its grip, and would not loose its hold on him.
  • On April 6, 1804, Coleridge boarded the Speedwell and sailed into exile. A grim apprehension gripped him and most of his friends. “Suppose... Coleridge had indeed died, as he and his friends clearly expected he would, aged thirty-one, somewhere in the Mediterranean in 1804? - Oliver Sacks

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