agony

noun
ag·​o·​ny | \ ˈa-gə-nē How to pronounce agony (audio) \
plural agonies

Definition of agony

1a : intense pain of mind or body : anguish, torture the agony of rejection the agony of defeat
b : the struggle that precedes death
2 : a violent struggle or contest the agonies of battle
3 : a strong sudden display (as of joy or delight) : outburst an agony of mirth

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Synonyms & Antonyms for agony

Synonyms

Gehenna, hell, horror, misery, murder, nightmare, torment, torture

Antonyms

heaven, paradise

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Choose the Right Synonym for agony

distress, suffering, misery, agony mean the state of being in great trouble. distress implies an external and usually temporary cause of great physical or mental strain and stress. the hurricane put everyone in great distress suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress. the suffering of famine victims misery stresses the unhappiness attending especially sickness, poverty, or loss. the homeless live with misery every day agony suggests pain too intense to be borne. in agony over the death of their child

Did You Know?

In Ancient Greece, a public gathering was called agon. Since the Greeks placed a high value on sports and athletic competition, there were almost always athletic events at gatherings on festival days. The struggle to win the prize in such contests came to be called agonia. This term came also to be used for any difficult physical struggle and then for the pain that went with it—physical or mental. Our English word agony, meaning “intense pain of mind or body,” thus comes from a word that meant a happy celebration.

Examples of agony in a Sentence

She was in terrible agony after breaking her leg. The medicine relieves the agony of muscle cramps very quickly. It was agony to watch him suffer like that.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Las Vegas Golden Knights had a season their fans will never forget, and now they're acquainted with the agony of losing at the final stage. Charlotte Wilder, SI.com, "In a Season to Remember, Las Vegas Knights Fans Experience The Agony of Defeat," 8 June 2018 From the thrills of a league-best season to the agonies of a fierce and erratic match-up against the powerful and favored Golden State Warriors. Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle, "Unhappy ending for Rockets, fans after Game 7 loss," 28 May 2018 For those with the stomach to bask in the agony of defeat, take a look some memes. Emily Lane, NOLA.com, "#BlewDat, and other rough (but funny) New Orleans Saints loss memes," 15 Jan. 2018 The portrait of Jeff Flake over the past two weeks is of a man in agony. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh is Jeff Flake’s most important test," 3 Oct. 2018 Winkler injured his groin in the first round after a rough landing and was in agony going into the second round. Daniel E. Slotnik, New York Times, "Hans Günter Winkler, Olympic Champion Equestrian, Dies at 91," 11 July 2018 Bodies mounted at the morgue as families wailed in agony. Madison Park, Holly Yan And Flora Charner, CNN, "Entire families buried as Guatemalans battle to recover the dead after volcano eruption," 5 June 2018 This is about the love between friends, yes, and the agony that comes with maturing at different paces, but what ultimately drives the film is the desire of Annie (Kristen Wiig, who also wrote the script, with Annie Mumolo) to catch up. Vogue, "The 55 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time," 1 Feb. 2019 Donizetti, using an Italian translation of a libretto by Rousseau, presents Pygmalion in a near-suicidal agony of desire. James R. Oestreich, New York Times, "Review: Ahead of ‘My Fair Lady,’ Two Operatic Pygmalions," 26 Mar. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for agony

Middle English agonie, borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French agonie, borrowed from Late Latin agōnia, borrowed from Greek agōnía "contest, struggle, anguish," from agṓn "gathering, assembly at games, contest for a prize" (derivative of ágein "to lead, drive") + -ia -y entry 2 — more at agent

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Statistics for agony

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for agony

The first known use of agony was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for agony

agony

noun

English Language Learners Definition of agony

: extreme mental or physical pain

agony

noun
ag·​o·​ny | \ ˈa-gə-nē How to pronounce agony (audio) \
plural agonies

Kids Definition of agony

: great physical pain or emotional distress

agony

noun
ag·​o·​ny | \ ˈag-ə-nē How to pronounce agony (audio) \
plural agonies

Medical Definition of agony

1 : intense pain of mind or body
2 : the struggle that precedes death

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More from Merriam-Webster on agony

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for agony

Spanish Central: Translation of agony

Nglish: Translation of agony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of agony for Arabic Speakers

Comments on agony

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