verb (used with object), ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing.

verb (used without object), ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing.

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
Related formsag·i·ta·ble [aj-i-tuh-buhl] /ˈædʒ ɪ tə bəl/, adjectiveag·i·ta·tive, adjectiveo·ver·ag·i·tate, verb (used with object), o·ver·ag·i·tat·ed, o·ver·ag·i·tat·ing.pre·ag·i·tate, verb (used with object), pre·ag·i·tat·ed, pre·ag·i·tat··ag·i·tate, verb, re·ag·i·tat·ed, re·ag·i·tat·ing.

Synonyms for agitate

Antonyms for agitate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for agitate

Contemporary Examples of agitate

Historical Examples of agitate

  • In 1831, a movement was on foot to agitate the question of abolishing slavery.

  • I see how the questions that agitate this country interest you.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • We cannot be judges of his policy, or the great events which agitate Europe.

  • "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

British Dictionary definitions for agitate



(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
Derived Formsagitated, adjectiveagitatedly, adverb

Word Origin for agitate

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

1580s, "to disturb," from Latin agitatus, past participle of agitare "to put in constant motion, drive onward, impel," frequentative of agere "to move, drive" (see agitation). Literal sense of "move to and fro, shake" is from 1590s. Related: Agitated; agitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper