Definition of agonizing

: causing agony

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from agonizing

agonizingly adverb

Examples of agonizing in a Sentence

a long and agonizing battle with cancer She made the agonizing decision to cancel the trip. The agonizing wait was finally over. He was in agonizing pain.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Forgoing college soccer was an agonizing decision for the Richards family, but that’s where Ken’s life experience played a valuable role. Joseph Goodman |,, "Alabama-born players represent future of U.S. Soccer," 3 June 2019 The implant had left her in severe pain, which, as time passed, grew more agonizing. Marwa Eltagouri, ajc, "A doctor removed her ovaries because they were ‘in the way.’ She committed suicide," 30 May 2018 Three decades later, survivors continue to work through conflicting feelings and agonizing memories of the nighttime crash after a pickup traveling the wrong way on Interstate 71 in Carroll County hit the bus owned by Radcliff First Assembly of God. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Survivors still in agony over school bus crash that horrified a nation," 13 May 2018 The main focus is on the central couple, who are met a few years after those agonizing events. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Benedict Cumberbatch uses stardom to carry 'The Child in Time'," 30 Mar. 2018 Nancy Lofaro recalls the agonizing wait inside the lifeboat as crew members fumbled to lower it. Barbara S. Peterson, Popular Mechanics, "What Went Wrong on the Costa Concordia," 14 July 2014 For many women in public service who are on furlough and now looking at not getting that vital paycheck, the uncertainty can be agonizing. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "These Women Are Still Waiting for Their Paycheck Because of the Government Shutdown," 11 Jan. 2019 Joanne Garone Behnke said it's been an agonizing wait to find out what happen to her aunt, Aggie Vicari. Fox News, "Missing Florida woman's body recovered amid rubble," 19 Oct. 2018 Their parents—my grandparents—had to make the agonizing choice to send their children away, alone, to the U.S. to save their lives. Caryl Stern, Marie Claire, "I Witnessed the Horrors Immigrant Children Experience at the Border," 25 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agonizing.' 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 agonizing

1570, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agonizing

from present participle of agonize

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about agonizing

Dictionary Entries near agonizing








Statistics for agonizing

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for agonizing

The first known use of agonizing was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for agonizing



English Language Learners Definition of agonizing

: very mentally or physically painful

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on agonizing

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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