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[ag-uh-nee] /ˈæg ə ni/
noun, plural agonies.
extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.
a display or outburst of intense mental or emotional excitement:
an agony of joy.
the struggle preceding natural death:
mortal agony.
a violent struggle.
(often initial capital letter) Theology. the sufferings of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.
Origin of agony
1350-1400; Middle English agonye (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin agōnia < Greek, equivalent to agṓn agon + -ia -y3
1. anguish, torment, torture. See pain. 2. paroxysm.
1. comfort, ease, pleasure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for agony
  • Essentially, a pain-causing feedback loop was set in motion, creating the agony of a migraine.
  • The torment and torture, and pain and agony, the suffering.
  • Nothing in my life had prepared me for this intense agony.
  • The old sports cliché— the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat .
  • For people who suffer from debilitating migraine headaches, advances toward alleviating their agony can't come quickly enough.
  • The sensation of getting stung ranges from a twinge to tingling to savage agony.
  • Indeed, much has been written about the hardship and agony of having a famous parent.
  • The long silence from the broadcasters following the explosion was sheer agony.
  • Many talk about the agony of being the one responsible for their aging parents as you did.
  • Too much lifting items and holding them over your head will have your muscles crying out in agony.
British Dictionary definitions for agony


noun (pl) -nies
acute physical or mental pain; anguish
the suffering or struggle preceding death
(Brit, informal) pile on the agony, put on the agony, turn on the agony, to exaggerate one's distress for sympathy or greater effect
(modifier) relating to or advising on personal problems about which people have written to the media: agony column, agony writer
Word Origin
C14: via Late Latin from Greek agōnia struggle, from agōn contest
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 agony

late 14c., "mental suffering" (especially that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane), from Old French agonie, agoine "anguish, terror, death agony" (14c.), and directly from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agonia "a (mental) struggle for victory," originally "a struggle for victory in the games," from agon "assembly for a contest," from agein "to lead" (see act (n.)). Sense of "extreme bodily suffering" first recorded c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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agony in the Bible

contest; wrestling; severe struggling with pain and suffering. Anguish is the reflection on evil that is already past, while agony is a struggle with evil at the time present. It is only used in the New Testament by Luke (22:44) to describe our Lord's fearful struggle in Gethsemane. The verb from which the noun "agony" is derived is used to denote an earnest endeavour or striving, as "Strive [agonize] to enter" (Luke 13:24); "Then would my servants fight" [agonize] (John 18:36). Comp. 1 Cor. 9:25; Col. 1:29; 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7, where the words "striveth," "labour," "conflict," "fight," are the renderings of the same Greek verb.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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