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

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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 Allow the machine to agitate long enough to distribute the detergent. oregonlive, "Caring for your quilt: Use it, don’t store it in cedar," 15 Oct. 2020 Morgan Stanley recently struck a deal to buy fund manager Eaton Vance Corp., and activist investor Nelson Peltz invested in Invesco Ltd. and Janus Henderson Group PLC, planning to agitate for a deal. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "Blackstone-Backed Finance of America Is Set for IPO," 13 Oct. 2020 And the police guarding the flimsy structure would respond with tear gas, rubber bullets, or sheer force, which would then further agitate the crowd. Sarah Jeong, The New Republic, "The Battle of Portland," 3 Sep. 2020 Antetokounmpo had grown frustrated with Wagner, who can agitate opponents with his play. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected for headbutting Wizards' Moe Wagner," 12 Aug. 2020 This is all a great sales pitch for alternative proteins, but the whole idea is bound to agitate foodie neuroses. Jan Dutkiewicz, Wired, "Burgers Won't Save the Planet—but Fast Food Might," 7 Aug. 2020 Spray the mixture onto the furniture surface and agitate the area with a nylon-bristle brush ($7, Amazon), and rinse thoroughly with water. Alicia Chilton, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Clean Mold Off Every Type of Outdoor Furniture," 5 Aug. 2020 Kalashnikov said the encounter began when the woman approached a group of protesters and tried to agitate people at the scene, according to the paper. Fox News, "Woman stabbed in downtown Portland, knife stolen from crime scene: police," 4 Aug. 2020 My attempt to discuss my intentions with them seemed to agitate them. USA Today, "Journalists cover protests to tell the truth. These are the stories of 5 who were detained by police.," 18 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for agitate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for agitate

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Agitate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agitate. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for agitate

agitate

verb
How to pronounce agitate (audio)

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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Comments on agitate

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