Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for agonising
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To the castaways every hour of that night is one of fear and agonising suspense.

    The Land of Fire Mayne Reid
  • It must be agonising to you, and there would be dishonour as well as pain to me, in witnessing that agony.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • Ellen awaited his reply in a state of the most agonising suspense.

    The Mysteries of London, v. 1/4 George W. M. Reynolds
  • For this imperious Voice is agonising for something and the drum is the beat of its heart.

    Margarita's Soul Ingraham Lovell
  • After holding the shrunken hand for a moment he was convulsed with an agonising sob, and had to turn away.

    New Grub Street George Gissing
  • Latterly the wound had festered, and gave him agonising pain.

    The Lively Poll R.M. Ballantyne
  • Then, rightly judging that it would be better to comply than keep me in a state of agonising suspense, she read it.

    A Veldt Vendetta Bertram Mitford
  • His desire of life tormented him in a paroxysm of agonising remorse.

    Almayer's Folly Joseph Conrad
  • In this agonising situation a horseman was seen approaching from the opposite side of the road.

    The Day of Wrath Maurus Jkai
British Dictionary definitions for agonising


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for agonising



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for agonize

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for agonising

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for agonising