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or (especially British) agonise

[ag-uh-nahyz] /ˈæg əˌnaɪz/
verb (used without object), agonized, agonizing.
to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in agony.
to put forth great effort of any kind.
verb (used with object), agonized, agonizing.
to distress with extreme pain; torture.
Origin of agonize
1575-85; < Medieval Latin agōnizāre < Greek agōnízesthai to struggle (for a prize), equivalent to agōn- agon + -izesthai -ize Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for agonize
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The great souls come and go and agonize and cry in the wilderness, and the little souls determine what shall be.

    Under the Law Edwina Stanton Babcock
  • May we know a little better what it is to agonize in prayer.

    The Assembly of God C. (Charles) H. (Henry) Mackintosh
  • Lock up the human wild beasts who agonize for liberty, and you will find that few jails will hold them.

    The Arena Various
  • And this seething life, the turmoil and the noises of the city, agonize me.

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
  • Yet, dying, I agonize to live, and fear to drink the last drop of that bitter cup.

  • Too far gone to agonize in prayer, I could only quietly, almost mutely, just tell him how the poor child had no clothes.

  • The plan operated mainly to agonize many children permanently against arising to speak their thought to fellow-creatures.

    Whilomville Stories Stephen Crane
British Dictionary definitions for agonize


to suffer or cause to suffer agony
(intransitive) to make a desperate effort; struggle; strive
Derived Forms
agonizingly, agonisingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Medieval Latin from Greek agōnizesthai to contend for a prize, from agōnagon
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 agonize

1580s, "to torture," from Middle French agoniser or directly from Medieval Latin agonizare, from Greek agonizesthai "to contend in the struggle" (see agony). Intransitive sense of "to suffer physical pain" is recorded from 1660s. That of "to worry intensely" is from 1853. Related: Agonized; agonizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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