ag·​i·​ta ˈa-jə-tə How to pronounce agita (audio)
: 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 Much of the agita surrounding Feinstein stemmed from her stance on policy, particularly from those on the left who long considered the former San Francisco mayor too moderate for their taste. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2024 Ultimately, though, the most agita per viewing comes from the Sharks. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 12 Mar. 2024 Most of the posts, per usual, were jokes: wry observations to help soothe the agita that comes with being alive when everything feels unstable. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, 8 Mar. 2024 While David Zaslav and Bob Iger’s tax-optimization strategy of deleting films and TV shows from their streamers has triggered plenty of agita among creators, the custodians of Hollywood’s digital era have an even greater fear: wholesale decay of feature and episodic files. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 But the council spent the most time debating amendments related to service charges and I-82, which have caused months of mounting agita among diners. Zoe Glasser, Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2024 At the center of it all is Gillett, an engineer and lawyer intent on transforming PURA and its relationship with the state’s monopolies, inflicting chronic agita on the regulated and those officials and staff who regulate them. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 2 Jan. 2024 From the some-things-never-change department, there was agita and legal skirmishes over picketing access and safety around the Universal Studios lot on Lankershim Boulevard, just as there has been in recent weeks. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 1 Sep. 2023 Frankly, cheering on a whale revolt feels like a far more desirable way to relieve the agita. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, 7 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'agita.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of agita was in 1971


Dictionary Entries Near agita

Cite this Entry

“Agita.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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