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

Perhaps, in time, the quality that allowed the United States to navigate those few minutes — and the agonizing 20 or so more that followed — will come to be identified as its defining trait. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Ruthless. Relentless. Victorious.," 2 July 2019 One effect of this parceling out was that reading the novel of adultery began to resemble committing adultery: the slow unfolding of a stranger’s character, the agonizing sense of being at the mercy of another’s whims. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 Cerio was inspired every agonizing step of the way by her Auburn family, and especially her teammates. Joseph Goodman |,, "Courageous spirit defines Auburn in tough times," 21 June 2019 Brexit, the agonizing effort to break free of the controversial European Union, splintered the governing Conservative Party and now has split the Labour Party as well. Arthur I. Cyr, Lake County News-Sun, "Cyr: British politics reflect change — and stability," 14 June 2019 The only way to rise above the 1-percenters (the trailing candidates in the polls, not the wealthy targets of Warren’s oratory) is to climb out of the crowded base camp one agonizing step at a time. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "On the Oratory Trail in Iowa," 11 June 2019 After an agonizing pause, the women who were wounded or hiding heard him say something unintelligible and then take one last shot, upward through his chin. Washington Post, "He always hated women.," 7 June 2019 After an agonizing pause, the women who were wounded or hiding heard him say something unintelligible and then take one last shot, upward through his chin. Steve Hendrix, Anchorage Daily News, "He always hated women. Then he decided to kill them.," 7 June 2019 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

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

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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