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[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for agitate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now, my dear sir, as to the questions which agitate the 101 minds of thousands in your country.

  • I shall take leave to relate in my own words what had just occurred to agitate her so.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • We cannot be judges of his policy, or the great events which agitate Europe.

  • The fits of rage that agitate me now were formerly unknown to me.

    Dona Perfecta B. Perez Galdos
  • “I beg of you not to so agitate yourself,” said Elvira Gordon.

    Madelon Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
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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