agitate

verb
ag·​i·​tate | \ ˈa-jə-ˌtāt How to pronounce agitate (audio) \
agitated; agitating

Definition of agitate

transitive verb

1 : to excite and often trouble the mind or feelings of : disturb My presence did not appear to agitate or irritate him as before, and he accepted my services quietly …— Charlotte Brontë
2a : to discuss excitedly and earnestly
b : to stir up public discussion of … trying to agitate the old question of the embezzlement of the remains of the Confederate Treasury.— Robert Penn Warren
3a obsolete : to give motion to
b : to move with an irregular, rapid, or violent action The storm agitated the sea.

intransitive verb

: to attempt to arouse public feeling agitated for better schools

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Synonyms for agitate

Synonyms

churn, stir, swirl, wash, whirl

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Choose the Right Synonym for agitate

shake, agitate, rock, convulse mean to move up and down or to and fro with some violence. shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose. shake well before using agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring. an ocean agitated by storms rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval. the whole city was rocked by the explosion convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm. spectators were convulsed with laughter

discompose, disquiet, disturb, perturb, agitate, upset, fluster mean to destroy capacity for collected thought or decisive action. discompose implies some degree of loss of self-control or self-confidence especially through emotional stress. discomposed by the loss of his beloved wife disquiet suggests loss of sense of security or peace of mind. the disquieting news of factories closing disturb implies interference with one's mental processes caused by worry, perplexity, or interruption. the discrepancy in accounts disturbed me perturb implies deep disturbance of mind and emotions. perturbed by her husband's strange behavior agitate suggests obvious external signs of nervous or emotional excitement. in his agitated state we could see he was unable to work upset implies the disturbance of normal or habitual functioning by disappointment, distress, or grief. the family's constant bickering upsets the youngest child fluster suggests bewildered agitation. his declaration of love completely flustered her

Examples of agitate in a Sentence

If I talk about the problem with him it just agitates him even more. Some members of the union have been agitating for a strike. A few local residents have been agitating against a military presence. The mixture is heated and then agitated.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In Calgary, Tkachuk’s two goals a series-opening victory against the Colorado Avalanche snapped his six-game goal drought, though the 21-year-old’s agitating ways stuck as much as his scoring. Stephen Whyno, The Seattle Times, "Youth is being served early in Stanley Cup playoffs," 12 Apr. 2019 The Dragons Hatching Toothless, from the makers of Hatchimals, comes inside an egg that needs to be agitated before the dragon emerges. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "The Hatching Baby Toothless Is the Perfect Gift For Your Aspiring Hiccup," 20 Feb. 2019 Dwyer argues that soldiers probably maintained their relationships with people of the same age who were students and urban youth, of whom many were agitating for government reform (p. 72-73). Kim Yi Dionne, Washington Post, "Four things you should know about mutinies," 15 June 2018 May 20 presidential elections and agitating for more sanctions. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "Washington and Cuba butt heads over Venezuela at heated Americas summit | Miami Herald," 14 Apr. 2018 Referencing the Catholic belief that unburied souls can’t enter heaven, the play casts the ghosts of national Irish heroes — including heroes who are dying at that very moment — as walking among the living, still restless and agitating for change. Aja Romano, Vox, "The Olivier-winning play from Jez Butterworth juggles 21 actors, a baby, and a goose — with a dark strain of Irish nationalism.," 3 Nov. 2018 May’s delay on the Brexit deal vote created an opening for a Conservative rebellion that had been brewing for some weeks, instigated by hardline Brexiteers who loathe May’s deal and are agitating for a more decisive split from the EU. Jen Kirby, Vox, "British Prime Minister Theresa May survives no-confidence vote," 12 Dec. 2018 The influence operation will continue to find new ways to agitate all sides through this election and the next. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "How Russia’s “influence operations” targeted the midterms (and how they still do)," 22 Oct. 2018 The point is to agitate casual observers and leave them scratching their heads. Robin Givhan, The Seattle Times, "Are designers trolling us with ‘ugly’ fashion — or is it us?," 6 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of agitate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for agitate

Middle English agitat "set in motion," borrowed from Latin agitātus, past participle of agitāre "to set in motion, drive before one, arouse, disturb, deal with, turn over in the mind," frequentative of agere "to drive, be in motion, do, perform" — more at agent

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Dictionary Entries near agitate

agita

agitable

agitanado

agitate

agitated

agitatingly

agitation

Statistics for agitate

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for agitate

The first known use of agitate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for agitate

agitate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of agitate

: to disturb, excite, or anger (someone)
: to try to get people to support or oppose something
technical : to move or stir up (a liquid)

agitate

verb
ag·​i·​tate | \ ˈa-jə-ˌtāt How to pronounce agitate (audio) \
agitated; agitating

Kids Definition of agitate

1 : to move or stir up The water was agitated by wind.
2 : disturb, excite, or anger She was agitated by the bad news.
3 : to try to stir up public feeling agitate for change

Other Words from agitate

agitator \ -​tā-​tər \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on agitate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with agitate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for agitate

Spanish Central: Translation of agitate

Nglish: Translation of agitate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of agitate for Arabic Speakers

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