agony

noun
ag·o·ny | \ˈa-gə-nē \
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

Charm and surprises; agony and resentment As expected, the Macintosh IIsi is, unsurprisingly, not going to replace your modern computer. Chris Wilkinson, Ars Technica, "1990, meet 2018: How far does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi power go today?," 1 July 2018 Generally, there's a good deal of overdramatized agony and clutching of body parts. Bloomberg.com, "A Guide to the World Cup When You Know Nothing About Soccer," 26 June 2018 Barbara Bush described the death of her daughter and the grief that followed as an agony made more bearable by her relationship with her husband. Steve Hendrix, Anchorage Daily News, "Barbara Bush had already faced a death more painful than her own: Her daughter’s," 18 Apr. 2018 Perhaps because his father was an African immigrant, his black heritage free from the agonies of slavery. Peter Godwin, WSJ, "Mandela’s Troubled Legacy," 13 July 2018 Without this medication, he was forced to endure the agony of withdrawal over several days. Brian Barnett, STAT, "Jails and prisons: the unmanned front in the battle against the opioid epidemic," 2 July 2018 Riders’ faces twist in the agony of climbing a 15-percent gradient. Fluto Shinzawa, BostonGlobe.com, "The soundtrack of the Tour de France," 29 June 2018 Back when giant billy clubs and tear gas couldn't tame the party After a fire broke out, people trapped in the burning wreckage did beg to be put out of their misery, to be spared the agony of burning to death. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "The truths of the circus train crash of 1918 are more horrifying than myths," 20 June 2018 Consciousness itself is, for her, an ongoing agony. Vivian Gornick, New York Times, "James Wood’s New Novel Confronts the Mystery of Other Minds," 14 June 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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Phrases Related to agony

agonies of guilt/remorse/regret

Statistics for agony

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

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 \
plural agonies

Kids Definition of agony

: great physical pain or emotional distress

agony

noun
ag·o·ny | \ˈag-ə-nē \
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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