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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for agonize
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I might agonize in words for a day and I should not express the delight.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • May we know a little better what it is to agonize in prayer.

    The Assembly of God C. (Charles) H. (Henry) Mackintosh
  • And this seething life, the turmoil and the noises of the city, agonize me.

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
  • Some must agonize and spend their strength unavailingly, like birds beating their wings against the bars of a cage for freedom.

  • Never again shall he agonize in Gethsemane, and sweat great drops of blood.

  • Too far gone to agonize in prayer, I could only quietly, almost mutely, just tell him how the poor child had no clothes.

  • The great souls come and go and agonize and cry in the wilderness, and the little souls determine what shall be.

    Under the Law Edwina Stanton Babcock
British Dictionary definitions for agonize


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 agonize

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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