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

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 Prepping for a backpacking trip looks something like this: lay out your gear, pack the essentials, then agonize over the little things that add weight but boost comfort and fun. Outside Online, 16 June 2022 Where applicants previously had to agonize over their resumes and employers could reject someone in a matter of seconds due to the high volume of applications, the tables have turned. Tim Madden, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2022 While some tech businesses agonize over remote-first versus hybrid, there has been a universal boost to salaries in the scrabble for staff. Megan Carnegie, Wired, 11 Feb. 2022 This year has seen the rise of two specific factors that will only further agonize you. Chris Carosa, Forbes, 30 Jan. 2022 Only a stupid you-know-what wouldn’t agonize over that trade-off. Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2022 Since then, five other Southeastern Conference teams have won it all, a hefty haul of 15 championships in total, while the Bulldogs and their red-and-black faithful have been left to agonize over close calls, bad luck and squandered potential. Paul Newberry, ajc, 9 Jan. 2022 Those are the moments that die-hard fans should agonize over, not the rash of COVID-19 positives that befell the Browns this week. Marla Ridenour, USA TODAY, 19 Dec. 2021 Researchers study it, and journalists write about it, while organizational leaders agonize over it. Kathy Miller Perkins, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of agonize was in 1570

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Agonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for agonize


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on agonize

Nglish: Translation of agonize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of agonize for Arabic Speakers


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