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July 18, 2010

Word of the Day

  • agita
  • audio pronunciation
  • \AJ-uh-tuh\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: a feeling of agitation or anxiety
  • EXAMPLES

"Bank nationalization would drive the stock market down and increase the agita of people with 401(k) plans." (Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker, April 6, 2009)

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Judging by its spelling and meaning, you might think that "agita" is simply a shortened version of "agitation," but that's not the case. Both "agitation" and the verb "agitate" derive from Latin "agere" ("to drive"). "Agita," which first appeared in American English in the early 1980s, comes from a dialectical pronunciation of the Italian word "acido," meaning "heartburn" or "acid," from Latin "acidus." ("Agita" is also occasionally used in English with the meaning "heartburn.") For a while the word's usage was limited to New York City and surrounding regions, but the word became more widespread in the mid-90s.

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