Agitator



a person who stirs up others in order to upset the status quo and further a political, social, or other cause:
The boss said he would fire any union agitators.
a machine or device for and mixing.
Contemporary Examples

As an agitator of stereotypes, how did you feel about The Birth of a Nation?
Spike Lee on Blackface, ‘Oldboy,’ ’12 Years a Slave,’ and The Brooklyn Nets Jimmy So October 30, 2013

I saw myself as an advocate and agitator and behind-the-scenes lobbyist on some very minor aspects of it.
Can This Blogger Unseat Barbara Boxer? Lloyd Grove April 5, 2010

Historical Examples

Santerre, the brewer and agitator of the faubourgs, alone led a band of 2000 pikes.
History of the Girondists, Volume I Alphonse de Lamartine

This is hardly the tone of the agitator as known to us to-day.
Victorian Worthies George Henry Blore

So fell this agitator of domestic broils, whose name passed into a proverb, denoting a powerful and turbulent demagogue.
Minstrelsy of the Scottish border (3rd ed) (1 of 3) Walter Scott

The Nationalisation of the Dinner-jacket would be death to the agitator.
Ambrotox and Limping Dick Oliver Fleming

One of the principal grounds in this change is to be found in the connection of government with the agitator O’Connell.
The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

“Pisistratus, you are as great an agitator as your namesake,” cried my father, smiling.
The Caxtons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

With the same object in view, it has been suggested to rotate the contents with an agitator fixed in the still.
The Handbook of Soap Manufacture W. H. Simmons

She is the agitator of the old world, and agitation is the lever of reform.
History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) Various

noun
a person who agitates for or against a cause, etc
a device, machine, or part used for mixing, shaking, or vibrating a material, usually a fluid
n.

1640s, agent noun from agitate (v.); originally “elected representative of the common soldiers in Cromwell’s army,” who brought grievances (chiefly over lack of pay) to their officers and Parliament.

Political sense is first recorded 1734, and negative overtones began with its association with Irish patriots such as Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847). Historically, in American English, often with outside and referring to people who stir up a supposedly contented class or race. Latin agitator meant “a driver, a charioteer.”

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