ag·​o·​nize | \ ˈa-gə-ˌnīz How to pronounce agonize (audio) \
agonized; agonizing

Definition of agonize

transitive verb

: to cause to suffer agony : torture

intransitive verb

1 : to suffer agony, torture, or anguish agonizes over every decision
2 : struggle

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of agonize in a Sentence

got into more trouble, further agonizing her poor mother agonized for days over whether she'd done the right thing
Recent Examples on the Web But even the best word smiths among us can agonize over what to write in their mom's Mother's Day card? Katie Bowlby, Country Living, "30 Best Mother's Day Card Messages To Make Her Day Extra Special," 28 Mar. 2021 The recruiting piece flashes brightest with fans who agonize every time a five-star recruit leaves the state. Star Tribune, "Basketball coaching change is next logical step for Gophers Athletic Director Mark Coyle," 6 Mar. 2021 Opened over 40 years ago by the Leavitt family, the doughnut and pie counter extends the length of the store, leaving little room to do anything but agonize over the decision in front of you. Andrea Capodilupo,, "Our Italian family has made at least 1,000 doughnut runs. We’re obsessed," 12 Feb. 2021 Championship teams are predisposed to retention; there’s no need for a front office to agonize over what a contending roster might look like when one just bounced out of Disney World carrying the trophy. oregonlive, "Trail Blazers’ coronavirus postponements, Stephen Curry’s ‘organized chaos,’ Nets’ Big Three debut, the league’s scheduling problem, TV ratings: NBA news and notes," 21 Jan. 2021 Meantime Anthony and Rosemary agonize over their lifelong, push-pull attraction. Michael Phillips,, "‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ review: Faith and begorrah, it’ll most likely bore ya," 9 Dec. 2020 The top three wings are similar and not having to agonize over that decision would be nice. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Who will Cleveland Cavaliers pick at No. 5 in NBA Draft? Hey, Chris!," 30 Aug. 2020 Why season 4 is something fans will agonize over throughout the final season. Shannon Carlin,, "The Real Meaning Behind The Graffiti In 13 Reasons Why Season 4," 6 June 2020 The sentence would have been prolonged, agonizing torture and Skaikru — a.k.a. Alamin Yohannes,, "The 12 most twisted moments of The 100 (so far)," 20 May 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of agonize

1570, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

History and Etymology for agonize

borrowed from Middle French agoniser "to exercise, struggle, suffer, (in past participle agonisé) torment," borrowed from Medieval Latin agōnizāre "to struggle, suffer death pangs," going back to Late Latin, "to fight, wrestle," borrowed from Greek agōnízesthai "to contest, fight," verbal derivative of agṓn "assembly, contest" — more at agony

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about agonize

Time Traveler for agonize

Time Traveler

The first known use of agonize was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Statistics for agonize

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Agonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for agonize



English Language Learners Definition of agonize

: to think or worry very much about something


ag·​o·​nize | \ ˈa-gə-ˌnīz How to pronounce agonize (audio) \
agonized; agonizing

Kids Definition of agonize

: to think or worry very much about something She agonized over the choices.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on agonize

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!