View synonyms for agitate


[ aj-i-teyt ]

verb (used with object)

, ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing.
  1. to move or force into violent, irregular action:

    The hurricane winds agitated the sea.

    Synonyms: toss, disturb

    Antonyms: soothe, calm

  2. to shake or move briskly:

    The machine agitated the mixture.

  3. to move to and fro; impart regular motion to.

    Synonyms: wave

  4. to disturb or excite emotionally; arouse; perturb:

    a crowd agitated to a frenzy by impassioned oratory; a man agitated by disquieting news.

    Synonyms: roil, fluster, ruffle

  5. to call attention to by speech or writing; discuss; debate:

    to agitate the question.

    Synonyms: dispute

  6. to consider on all sides; revolve in the mind; plan.

verb (used without object)

, ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing.
  1. 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.


/ ˈædʒɪˌteɪt /


  1. tr to excite, disturb, or trouble (a person, the mind, or feelings); worry
  2. tr to cause to move vigorously; shake, stir, or disturb
  3. intr; often foll by for or against to attempt to stir up public opinion for or against something
  4. tr to discuss or debate in order to draw attention to or gain support for (a cause, etc)

    to agitate a political cause

“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈagiˌtatedly, adverb
  • ˈagiˌtated, adjective
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Other Words From

  • ag·i·ta·ble [aj, -i-t, uh, -b, uh, l], adjective
  • agi·tative adjective
  • over·agi·tate verb (used with object) overagitated overagitating
  • pre·agi·tate verb (used with object) preagitated preagitating
  • re·agi·tate verb reagitated reagitating
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Word History and Origins

Origin of agitate1

First recorded in 1580–90; from Latin agitātus, past participle of agitāre “to set in motion,” literally, “to do repeatedly,” from agere “to do, drive”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of agitate1

C16: from Latin agitātus, from agitāre to move to and fro, set into motion, from agere to act, do
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Example Sentences

California-based Lost Spirits uses a chemical reactor, while Ohio-based Cleveland Whiskey places its spirits in tanks together with barrel wood, then agitates the mixture and applies pressure.

From Ozy

At the same time, TV ad buyers are growing agitated by linear TV’s supply and demand dynamic.

From Digiday

Voters’ short-term memory is why we’re seeing Democrats agitating to take action.

By that night, protesters and demonstrators gathered to express their outrage, and were further agitated as police pepper-sprayed them.

From Vox

That’s been true for YouTube stars who have agitated against its content-recommendation and advertising algorithms as well as Vine stars who saw Twitter allow that platform to wither away.

From Digiday

He is always calling on “we,” “the population,” or “the people” to rally in the streets and agitate for a better future.

Zamora was handsome, passionate, and used his time on The Real World to educate and agitate.

Their leaders said some 20,000 people turned out to agitate in the Russian capital; officials put the number lower, around 8,000.

When they are out of power Republicans agitate to cut taxes and oppose tax increases.

An American first lady was embracing a brand known for its willingness to push boundaries, to agitate, and even to offend.

I suppose they didn't want to agitate the duke until the last moment and couldn't find Harold until this morning.

This is a painful thought, which, I believe, does much agitate his Majesty now and afterwards.

She herself continued to agitate Cecil and the council by the favours she lavished on Leicester.

These, and other more subtile questions--like the nature of angels--began to agitate the convent in the ninth century.

That question we are too wise to agitate, until the country recovers somewhat from the anxieties and perplexities of the war.


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More About Agitate

What does agitate mean?

To agitate someone is to make them feel anxious, bothered, or worried. Someone who feels this way can be described as agitated. Things that make you feel this way can be described as agitating.

To agitate something is to shake it up, stir it up, or cause it to move around roughly, as in The storm agitated the water, stirring up huge waves. 

The noun agitation refers to the act or process of agitating in this way. It also commonly refers to the state or feeling of being agitated, as in There is a lot of agitation among the employees who have not yet been paid. 

The verb agitate is also used in a more specific way to mean to attempt to promote support or opposition for a political or social cause, especially by repeatedly raising the issue and bringing awareness to it. The act of doing this can be called agitation, and a person who does this can be called an agitator.

Example: The cable news channel blaring in the waiting room really agitates me—they really shouldn’t have that around people who are about to get their blood pressure taken.

Where does agitate come from?

The first records of the word agitate come from the late 1500s. It comes from the Latin verb agitāre, meaning “to set in motion.”

In most of its senses, agitate involves stirring things up or setting things in motion in a way that’s a bit messy or turbulent. When you get agitated, your emotions get stirred up by something that’s frustrating, annoying, or stressful. When physical things are agitated, they are literally stirred up—the part of a washing machine that agitates the clothes (spins them around in the water) is called an agitator. Agitate in a political context involves stirring things up to make a change, especially in a way that’s a little controversial.

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What are some other forms related to agitate?

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What are some words that share a root or word element with agitate

What are some words that often get used in discussing agitate?

How is agitate used in real life?

When it involves feelings of anxiousness, agitate is typically used in negative situations. When it refers to political activity, agitate usually implies that there is controversy or contentiousness involved.



Try using agitate!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of agitate?

A. disturb
B. perturb
C. fluster
D. calm