- 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.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. disturb, toss. 3. wave. 4. ruffle, fluster, roil. 5. dispute.
1. calm, soothe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for agitate
He is always calling on “we,” “the population,” or “the people” to rally in the streets and agitate for a better future.Noam Chomsky—Infuriating and Necessary
September 28, 2014
Zamora was handsome, passionate, and used his time on The Real World to educate and agitate.Pedro Zamora, a Hero in the Real World
June 1, 2014
Their leaders said some 20,000 people turned out to agitate in the Russian capital; officials put the number lower, around 8,000.Neo-Nationalist Violence Targets Central Asians In Russia
November 6, 2013
When they are out of power Republicans agitate to cut taxes and oppose tax increases.Fiscal Cliff Vote Fails Due to Republican Theology on Taxes
December 21, 2012
An American first lady was embracing a brand known for its willingness to push boundaries, to agitate, and even to offend.Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen: Lady in Red
January 19, 2011
In 1831, a movement was on foot to agitate the question of abolishing slavery.Cleveland Past and Present
I see how the questions that agitate this country interest you.Lord Kilgobbin
We cannot be judges of his policy, or the great events which agitate Europe.Tom Burke Of "Ours", Volume II (of II)
Charles James Lever
"When we get back home we can agitate for a mission to come here," Tance said.The Gun
Philip K. Dick
Under that law every problem you agitate here is already solved.The Crimson Tide
Robert W. Chambers
- (tr) to excite, disturb, or trouble (a person, the mind, or feelings); worry
- (tr) to cause to move vigorously; shake, stir, or disturb
- (intr; often foll by for or against) to attempt to stir up public opinion for or against something
- (tr) to discuss or debate in order to draw attention to or gain support for (a cause, etc)to agitate a political cause
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
Word Origin and History for agitate
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper