Definition of agitate
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 earnestlyb : 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 tob : to move with an irregular, rapid, or violent action The storm agitated the sea.
: to attempt to arouse public feeling agitated for better schools
agitationplay \ˌa-jə-ˈtā-shən\ noun
agitationalplay \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
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.
Recent Examples of agitate from the Web
NATO has not substantively changed its mission toward countering terrorism as a result of Trump’s agitating.
No matter the good intentions of the parents or how self-sacrificing their desire to keep their child at home, adolescence, with its onrush of agitating hormones, tends to make home care an impossibility.
Dr. Noorchashm and Dr. Reed would not settle for less than a complete ban, and continued to agitate.
Both den-masters agitated their eggs with their heads and bodies.
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.
Origin and Etymology of agitate
Latin agitatus, past participle of agitare, frequentative of agere to drive — more at agent
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of agitate
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
AGITATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of agitate for English Language Learners
: to disturb, excite, or anger (someone)
: to try to get people to support or oppose something
: to move or stir up (a liquid)
AGITATE Defined for Kids
Definition of agitate for Students
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
Seen and Heard
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