ag·​i·​ta | \ ˈa-jə-tə How to pronounce agita (audio) \

Definition of agita

: a feeling of agitation or anxiety

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 it comes form, agitate, derive from Latin agere, meaning "to drive." Agita, which first appeared in American English in the mid-late 20th century, 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-1990s.

Examples of agita in a Sentence

took a deep breath to dispel her agita as she stepped onstage
Recent Examples on the Web The historic vote was the culmination of months of political agita among Democrats, requiring regular cajoling from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden himself. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 11 Aug. 2022 There was some agita for the Green in this one, of course. Globe Staff,, 14 May 2022 But Cordero, bored and sensing their agita, decided to bait them even further by tweeting — falsely — that he’d subsequently been fined $150,000 by Grande’s label for his role in spreading the leak. New York Times, 25 Dec. 2020 My flash of fatherly agita was a result of everything seeming to pile up at once after my baby’s birth. Taylor Tepper, New York Times, 15 Apr. 2020 But the agita over how to groom yourself for work—hair straight or curly? Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 13 Apr. 2020 That points to a major source of agita for some observers of the 2016 election: electoral forecasts in the news media and elsewhere that used polling data to suggest Mrs. Clinton was highly likely to win. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2019 Given his broken finger, his fragile knees, his sore back and achy feet, not to mention his chronic agita, Bryant can't sit in a car for two hours. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 28 Jan. 2020 But all the little decisions can at least begin to move the needle in the right direction (and relieve some of our collective agita!), and that’s where this guide comes in. The Healthyish Team, Bon Appétit, 28 Jan. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agita.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of agita

1971, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agita

borrowed from Italian acido, literally, "heartburn, acid entry 1," with spelling reflecting southern Italian laxing of consonants and reduction of final vowel

Learn More About agita

Listen to Our Podcast About agita

Dictionary Entries Near agita




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for agita

Last Updated

22 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Agita.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!