ag·​o·​nist ˈa-gə-nist How to pronounce agonist (audio)
: one that is engaged in a struggle
[from antagonist]
: a muscle that is controlled by the action of an antagonist with which it is paired
: a chemical substance capable of combining with a specific receptor on a cell and initiating the same reaction or activity typically produced by the binding endogenous substance
dopaminergic agonists
compare antagonist sense 2b

Examples of agonist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Food company Nestlé has announced plans to launch a line of frozen meals made especially for people taking a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which includes diabetes and anti-obesity medications Ozempic and Wegovy. Fran Kritz, Verywell Health, 3 June 2024 More and more people who started taking the new GLP-1 agonist drugs are now confronting the realities of their limitations; medications like Wegovy and Mounjaro tend to help with sustained weight loss only while people are on them. Yuki Noguchi, NPR, 27 May 2024 As more patients try to get prescriptions for GLP-1 agonists, drugmakers struggle to make enough doses. Kff Health News, The Mercury News, 23 Oct. 2023 This class of weight-loss medications, called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonists, has become immensely popular with consumers. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, 21 May 2024 The medications, which belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonists, have list prices of over $1,000 per month. Fran Kritz, Verywell Health, 15 May 2024 The injectable medication, part of a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonists, was previously approved just for weight management. Fran Kritz, Verywell Health, 10 May 2024 The Danish pharma giant is one-half of the current duopoly on GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) agonist medications, a class of drugs that helps regulate blood sugar levels and suppresses a user’s appetite. Bruce Gil, Quartz, 1 May 2024 Many people who take GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs such as Wegovy (semaglutide) and Zepbound (tirzepatide) will lose significant weight and see multiple health improvements. Claire Bugos, Verywell Health, 24 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'agonist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin agōnista, borrowed from Greek agōnistḗs, from agōnízesthai "to contend, fight" + -istēs -ist entry 1 — more at agonize

First Known Use

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of agonist was in 1658

Dictionary Entries Near agonist

Cite this Entry

“Agonist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


ag·​o·​nist ˈag-ə-nəst How to pronounce agonist (audio)
: a muscle that on contracting is automatically checked and controlled by the opposing simultaneous contraction of another muscle

called also agonist muscle, prime mover

compare antagonist sense a, synergist sense 2
: a chemical substance (as a drug) capable of combining with a receptor on a cell and initiating the same reaction or activity typically produced by the binding of an endogenous substance
binding of adrenergic agonists
compare antagonist sense b

More from Merriam-Webster on agonist

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