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[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.
Also, especially British, agonise.
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
  • Still, despite peer-reviewed evidence, many parents ignore the math and agonize about whether to vaccinate.
  • Philosophers agonize about whether the reality outside that circle even exists.
  • They themselves agonize over the restraints they face.
  • The ice cream and topping are so good that you don't even need to agonize over the short cake.
  • Good advice here, but on the other hand, don't agonize over things too much.
  • Good writers agonize over word choice, listen for sounds and rhythms, craft with care the cadences of their sentences.
  • During that time, don't agonize over any career decisions and don't allow yourself to feel guilty.
  • So instead of continuing to agonize about it, make an appointment to go talk to someone.
  • Natural and physical scientists needn't agonize, because their textbooks all accept the paradigm as a given.
  • Society sees the few people making a spectacle, not the many who agonize in secret.
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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