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[ag-uh-nahy-zing] /ˈæg əˌnaɪ zɪŋ/
accompanied by, filled with, or resulting in agony or distress:
We spent an agonizing hour waiting to hear if the accident had been serious or not.
Origin of agonizing
1660-70; agonize + -ing2
Related forms
agonizingly, adverb


[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.
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 agonizing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He could not—when it came to the agonizing point—he could not face Nicky.

    The Creators May Sinclair
  • But where was the mother during these fearful and agonizing moments!

  • But to go into details—to relate the minutiae—is too agonizing!

  • Nan, agonizing in her suspense, cried out she must join him and go with him if he went.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • She loves Russia,—our poor Russia, agonizing in the throes of a new birth; while we—we love her, the woman.

    The Red Symbol John Ironside
British Dictionary definitions for agonizing


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 agonizing



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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