Definition of agonizing 

: causing agony

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The owners, Pam and Dave Welsh, returned home immediately but endured an agonizing six days while Skylar remained missing. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Lost pet? Many call on JoCo 'pet chip detective' and his team | The Kansas City Star," 6 Mar. 2018 Some members of the Chamber of Deputies said the debate was agonizing. Daniel Politi And Ralph Ellis, CNN, "Argentina's lower house of Congress approves bill liberalizing abortion laws," 14 June 2018 For individuals experiencing withdrawal symptoms, that week can be agonizing, with symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, anxiety, and insomnia. Lev Facher, STAT, "In a first, FDA approves drug meant to mitigate symptoms of opioid withdrawal," 16 May 2018 Altogether, the 7-minute tape of children separated from their parents and held at a detention center makes for some agonizing listening. Carolyn Mcatee Cerbin, USA TODAY, "Papá! Papá!’: Immigrant children at detention center cry for parents in heartbreaking audio," 18 June 2018 Van Ness wrote about the emotional fallout of an incident like this: the fear, the shaking, the confusion, the strange and agonizing experience of finding blood on your favorite outfit. Kate Leaver, Teen Vogue, "A Santa Fe Survivor's Mother Wrote a Moving Facebook Post About Experiencing the Texas School Shooting," 22 May 2018 This was necessary because Adrift is about the most agonizing of survivals. Rebecca Farley,, "Shailene Woodley's Intense Preparation For Adrift Will Shock You," 29 June 2018 There is no way to watch this agonizing sequence and not think of the shameful revelation that has dominated recent news: thousands of children have been systematically separated from their parents after crossing the United States’ southern border. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 10 Is Its Most Horrifying Yet," 20 June 2018 Now, ProPublica has obtained disturbing audio from inside one U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, which captures the agonizing sounds of young children sobbing and screaming for their parents. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "This Is What It Sounds Like Inside a Detention Center for Immigrant Kids," 18 June 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.

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First Known Use of agonizing

1570, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agonizing

from present participle of agonize

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Statistics for agonizing

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for agonizing

The first known use of agonizing was in 1570

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English Language Learners Definition of agonizing

: very mentally or physically painful

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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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