ag·​i·​ta·​tor | \ˈa-jə-ˌtā-tər \

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

Left wing agitators and politicians began protesting his nomination in front of the Supreme Court, almost as soon as President Trump made the announcement. Fox News, "Leonard Leo on why Trump appointed Judge Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 The Trump administration obstinately persists in playing the inglorious role of global economic agitator. Paul Mozur, New York Times, "China’s Official News Media Sharply Criticize Trump," 16 June 2018 Interviews with more than two dozen Virginians present a portrait of Mr. Stewart as a conservative politician-on-the-make turned Trumpian agitator thirsty for cable television bookings. New York Times, "Corey Stewart, Virginia Senate Nominee, Evokes Trump on Racial Issues," 17 June 2018 Taubes had become the country’s anti-sugar agitator-in-chief. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Collapse of a $40 Million Nutrition Science Crusade," 18 June 2018 Rather than constructively focusing on actual issues impacting our city, Mayor Mike Posey and his cast of political hucksters did little more than host a pep rally for professional agitators and out-of-town haters., "Huntington Beach takes wrong road with lawsuit against ‘sanctuary’ laws," 5 Apr. 2018 In 2010, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a national organization that grew out of the NWRO, was destroyed after right-wing agitators advanced baseless charges of voter fraud. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "The Prosperity Plea," 30 May 2018 In other series, lesser agitators than Marchand, like Dave Bolland of the Chicago Blackhawks and Micheal Ferland of the Calgary Flames, were able to limit the Sedins’ effectiveness. Lucas Aykroyd, New York Times, "One Last Time in Vancouver: Henrik Sedin to Daniel Sedin for a Goal," 6 Apr. 2018 But instead, Jones tossed out the red herring that there were professional agitators out in the crowd, an unsubstantiated tidbit that some in the TV news corps snatched up and ran with without question. Marcos Bretón, sacbee, "If one of your deputies hits a protester, what do you do? Dodge and weave | The Sacramento Bee," 3 Apr. 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

1 Nov 2018

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

: 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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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 express warning or disapproval

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