ag·​i·​ta·​tor | \ ˈa-jə-ˌtā-tər How to pronounce agitator (audio) \

Definition of agitator

: one that agitates: such as
a : one who stirs up public feeling on controversial issues political agitators
b : a device or an apparatus for stirring or shaking

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Examples of agitator in a Sentence

The police arrested several antigovernment agitators. a political agitator who led an unsuccessful revolt against the government

Recent Examples on the Web

By many accounts, the violence was started by pro-government agitators, and the arrests of the opposition members were seen as political persecution. Sopheng Cheang, Fox News, "14 Cambodian opposition activists freed from prison," 28 Aug. 2018 Jewish students were assaulted at an Israeli Independence Day celebration last year in Washington Square Park, where two anti-Israel student agitators were arrested after... Susan Shapiro, WSJ, "Anti-Semitism at NYU," 21 Apr. 2019 Washing machines without agitators are gentler and allow more room for shoes to move freely. Isadora Baum, SELF, "Here’s How to Clean Sneakers Depending on the Material," 17 Feb. 2019 And if your washer has an agitator in the middle, don't wrap the sheets around it. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Wash Sheets — Plus the Mistakes You Might Be Making," 16 Oct. 2018 That included Definers, which circulated a document casting Soros as a force behind Facebook’s agitators. Emily Stewart, Vox, "There are many reasons to be mad at Sheryl Sandberg. Asking about Soros’s Facebook interests isn’t one of them.," 30 Nov. 2018 In just two seasons in the N.H.L., Matt Tkachuk, the Calgary Flames’ left winger, has earned a reputation as one of the league’s most skilled, and most annoying, agitators. Neal E. Boudette, New York Times, "N.H.L. Is Expected to Bring Another Tkachuk Into the Fold," 21 June 2018 Ortega’s government blames the violence on right-wing agitators. Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, "Death toll reaches 100 in Nicaragua as political violence intensifies," 1 June 2018 These men form a small but important part of the voting base for Mr. López Obrador, who began his political career in the 1970s as an oil industry agitator. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Two States of Mexico Reveal the Split Driving Sunday’s Presidential Election," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agitator.' 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 agitator

1663, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agitator

agitate + -or entry 1

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Statistics for agitator

Last Updated

31 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for agitator

The first known use of agitator was in 1663

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More Definitions for agitator



English Language Learners Definition of agitator

usually disapproving : a person who tries to get people angry or upset so that they will support an effort to change a government, company, etc.
: a device for stirring or shaking something in a machine (such as a washing machine)

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More from Merriam-Webster on agitator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with agitator

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for agitator

Spanish Central: Translation of agitator

Nglish: Translation of agitator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of agitator for Arabic Speakers

Comments on agitator

What made you want to look up agitator? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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