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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2. paroxysm.
1. comfort, ease, pleasure.
Synonym Study
1. See pain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for agony
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was such an agony of supplication in her voice and her attitude, that Pascal was touched.

    The Count's Millions Emile Gaboriau
  • For three dreadful weeks he ran it in agony or apprehension.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • "There's nothing more you can do I care for now," she broke out with a look of agony.

    Willing to Die Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • It must be agonising to you, and there would be dishonour as well as pain to me, in witnessing that agony.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • For His work's sake, His soul was required to pass through the agony of losing every human consolation.

    Our Master Bramwell Booth
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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