agitate

verb
ag·​i·​tate | \ ˈa-jə-ˌtāt How to pronounce agitate (audio) \
agitated; agitating

Definition of agitate

transitive verb

1 : to excite and often trouble the mind or feelings of : disturb My presence did not appear to agitate or irritate him as before, and he accepted my services quietly …— Charlotte Brontë
2a : to discuss excitedly and earnestly
b : to stir up public discussion of … trying to agitate the old question of the embezzlement of the remains of the Confederate Treasury.— Robert Penn Warren
3a obsolete : to give motion to
b : to move with an irregular, rapid, or violent action The storm agitated the sea.

intransitive verb

: to attempt to arouse public feeling agitated for better schools

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Synonyms for agitate

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for agitate

shake, agitate, rock, convulse mean to move up and down or to and fro with some violence. shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose. shake well before using agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring. an ocean agitated by storms rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval. the whole city was rocked by the explosion convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm. spectators were convulsed with laughter

discompose, disquiet, disturb, perturb, agitate, upset, fluster mean to destroy capacity for collected thought or decisive action. discompose implies some degree of loss of self-control or self-confidence especially through emotional stress. discomposed by the loss of his beloved wife disquiet suggests loss of sense of security or peace of mind. the disquieting news of factories closing disturb implies interference with one's mental processes caused by worry, perplexity, or interruption. the discrepancy in accounts disturbed me perturb implies deep disturbance of mind and emotions. perturbed by her husband's strange behavior agitate suggests obvious external signs of nervous or emotional excitement. in his agitated state we could see he was unable to work upset implies the disturbance of normal or habitual functioning by disappointment, distress, or grief. the family's constant bickering upsets the youngest child fluster suggests bewildered agitation. his declaration of love completely flustered her

Examples of agitate in a Sentence

If I talk about the problem with him it just agitates him even more. Some members of the union have been agitating for a strike. A few local residents have been agitating against a military presence. The mixture is heated and then agitated.
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Recent Examples on the Web Activist hedge fund Starboard Value has a more-than-8% stake in Huntsman and plans to agitate for change at the chemicals producer, The Wall Street Journal reported. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 28 Sep. 2021 Neither did Garrison’s insistence on instantly abolishing racial discrimination as well as slavery, nor his push to agitate over other injustices, notably the subordination of women. Sean Wilentz, The New York Review of Books, 14 May 2020 Regardless of whether or not the new system develops into a tropical storm, stormy conditions are anticipated to agitate Atlantic waters along the East Coast of the U.S. later this week and this weekend. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2021 As if to agitate against the asymmetry of feeling between her and Zaza in life, Beauvoir framed her journey to selfhood in her memoir through Zaza’s loss of it. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 The active heater coils cause the magnetic particles to agitate, which warms the pan quickly. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, 22 June 2021 After explaining her story, Oquendo urged Hinkel to use her standing in the community to agitate for Colling’s dismissal. Abe Streep, The New Yorker, 21 May 2021 While Mencía offers Rebeka a chance to get over Samuel, getting close to a former drug queenpin's daughter provides yet another way for Mencía to agitate her uptight dad. Marcus Jones, EW.com, 20 May 2021 And, for activists, how to effectively agitate for banning unwanted technologies. Sidney Fussell, Wired, 30 Apr. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for agitate

Middle English agitat "set in motion," borrowed from Latin agitātus, past participle of agitāre "to set in motion, drive before one, arouse, disturb, deal with, turn over in the mind," frequentative of agere "to drive, be in motion, do, perform" — more at agent

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Time Traveler for agitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of agitate was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near agitate

agitanado

agitate

agitated

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Statistics for agitate

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Agitate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agitate. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for agitate

agitate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of agitate

: to disturb, excite, or anger (someone)
: to try to get people to support or oppose something
: to move or stir up (a liquid)

agitate

verb
ag·​i·​tate | \ ˈa-jə-ˌtāt How to pronounce agitate (audio) \
agitated; agitating

Kids Definition of agitate

1 : to move or stir up The water was agitated by wind.
2 : to disturb, excite, or anger She was agitated by the bad news.
3 : to try to stir up public feeling agitate for change

Other Words from agitate

agitator \ -​tā-​tər \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on agitate

Nglish: Translation of agitate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of agitate for Arabic Speakers

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