9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[aj-i-teyt] /ˈædʒ ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), agitated, agitating.
to move or force into violent, irregular action:
The hurricane winds agitated the sea.
to shake or move briskly:
The machine agitated the mixture.
to move to and fro; impart regular motion to.
to disturb or excite emotionally; arouse; perturb:
a crowd agitated to a frenzy by impassioned oratory; a man agitated by disquieting news.
to call attention to by speech or writing; discuss; debate:
to agitate the question.
to consider on all sides; revolve in the mind; plan.
verb (used without object), agitated, agitating.
to arouse or attempt to arouse public interest and support, as in some political or social cause or theory:
to agitate for the repeal of a tax.
Origin of agitate
1580-90; < Latin agitātus (past participle of agitāre to set in motion), equivalent to ag- (root of agere to drive) + -it- frequentative suffix + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
[aj-i-tuh-buh l] /ˈædʒ ɪ tə bəl/ (Show IPA),
agitative, adjective
overagitate, verb (used with object), overagitated, overagitating.
preagitate, verb (used with object), preagitated, preagitating.
reagitate, verb, reagitated, reagitating.
1. disturb, toss. 3. wave. 4. ruffle, fluster, roil. 5. dispute.
1. calm, soothe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for agitate
  • Any wound sufficient to agitate the nerves and necessarily make the hand shake, must end the business for that day.
  • Various questions of great moment now agitate the general public.
  • Listen, all our opponents agitate for a law-governed state.
  • Gently push wool into water with a spoon, but don't agitate.
  • The movement is yet in an embryonic state, but it is hoped to sufficiently agitate it to win success.
  • Even a perfectly good heart found much to agitate it in the doings.
  • He argued that other minorities would agitate for similar rights.
  • Using your hand, agitate the mussels in a washing machine fashion, back and forth.
  • It doesn't agitate us as much as it confirms the seemliness of our apprehensions.
  • It needs to cooperate and trade rather than agitate.
British Dictionary definitions for agitate


(transitive) to excite, disturb, or trouble (a person, the mind, or feelings); worry
(transitive) to cause to move vigorously; shake, stir, or disturb
(intransitive; often foll by for or against) to attempt to stir up public opinion for or against something
(transitive) to discuss or debate in order to draw attention to or gain support for (a cause, etc): to agitate a political cause
Derived Forms
agitated, adjective
agitatedly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin agitātus, from agitāre to move to and fro, set into motion, from agere to act, do
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for agitate

1580s, "to disturb," from Latin agitatus, past participle of agitare "to put in constant motion, drive onward, impel," frequentative of agere "to move, drive" (see agitation). Literal sense of "move to and fro, shake" is from 1590s. Related: Agitated; agitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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