[ ag-uh-nahyz ]
/ ˈæg əˌnaɪz /

verb (used without object), ag·o·nized, ag·o·niz·ing.

to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in agony.
to put forth great effort of any kind.

verb (used with object), ag·o·nized, ag·o·niz·ing.

to distress with extreme pain; torture.



"Little Women" may be a classic, but that doesn't mean we all know the meanings of the vocab words from the book. Can you define these words correctly and make Jo proud?
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Also especially British, ag·o·nise.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for agonise

  • Othello must not agonise for a cloak, but ‘the little orphan Alice Fell’ has nothing else to agonise for.

    Oxford Lectures on Poetry|Andrew Cecil Bradley
  • No one can make me believe that it is to be ascribed to this scandalous Government, under which we agonise.

    The Last Hope|Henry Seton Merriman
  • His exhortation and command rather is, “Strive”—“knock”—agonise to “enter in!”

    Memories of Bethany|John Ross Macduff
  • If we agonise that we and our descendants may rise, life is worth living.

    Life of Charles Darwin|G. T. (George Thomas) Bettany

British Dictionary definitions for agonise



/ (ˈæɡəˌnaɪz) /


to suffer or cause to suffer agony
(intr) to make a desperate effort; struggle; strive

Derived forms of agonize

agonizingly or agonisingly, adverb

Word Origin for agonize

C16: via Medieval Latin from Greek agōnizesthai to contend for a prize, from agōn agon
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