agonistic

adjective
ag·​o·​nis·​tic | \ ˌa-gə-ˈni-stik How to pronounce agonistic (audio) \

Definition of agonistic

1 : of or relating to the athletic contests of ancient Greece
3 : striving for effect : strained
4 : of, relating to, or being aggressive or defensive social interaction (such as fighting, fleeing, or submitting) between individuals usually of the same species

Other Words from agonistic

agonistically \ ˌa-​gə-​ˈni-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce agonistic (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

Agonistic has its roots in ancient Greece—specifically in the agonistic (to use the oldest sense of the word) athletic contests called agons featured at public festivals. From physical conflict to verbal jousting, agonistic came to be used as a synonym for argumentative and later to mean "striving for effect" or "strained." Common current use, however, is biological, relating to confrontational interaction among animals of the same species and the responsive behaviors—such as aggression, flight, or submission—they exhibit. Agonistic is also sometimes used to describe an agonist muscle, a muscle that on contracting is automatically checked and controlled by an opposing muscle, that other muscle being an antagonist. For example, during a bicep curl in weight lifting, the (contracted) bicep is the agonistic muscle and the (relaxed) triceps muscle is the antagonist.

Examples of agonistic in a Sentence

clearly a writer with a chip on his shoulder, he's very agonistic even when stating indisputable facts
Recent Examples on the Web But the drive, the bile, the essential, agonistic spirit that powers the greatest rock music and serves as the source of its creativity will almost certainly be lacking. Damon Linker, The Week, 4 Sep. 2021 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 This agonistic version of the fact-value distinction leaves us with an impoverished ideal of social interaction. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agonistic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of agonistic

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for agonistic

borrowed from Late Latin agōnisticus "of a contest," borrowed from Greek agōnistikós "fit for a contest, contentious," from agōnistḗs "one engaged in a contest or struggle" + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at agonist

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The first known use of agonistic was in 1656

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Dictionary Entries Near agonistic

agonist

agonistic

agonize

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Cite this Entry

“Agonistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agonistic. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for agonistic

agonistic

adjective
ag·​o·​nis·​tic | \ ˌag-ə-ˈnis-tik How to pronounce agonistic (audio) \

Medical Definition of agonistic

: of, relating to, or being aggressive or defensive social interaction (as fighting, fleeing, or submitting) between individuals usually of the same species agonistic behavior

More from Merriam-Webster on agonistic

Nglish: Translation of agonistic for Spanish Speakers

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