extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.
a display or outburst of intense mental or emotional excitement:
an agony of joy.
the struggle preceding natural death:
mortal agony.
a violent struggle.
(often initial capital letter) theology. the sufferings of christ in the garden of gethsemane.
contemporary examples

john b. judis, the new republic the agonies and ecstasy of a permanent democratic majority.
the week’s best longreads: the daily beast picks for november 24, 2012 david sessions november 23, 2012

a year ago, nick hornby was suffering the agonies of the first-time screenwriter.
nick hornby’s oscar insta-buzz tom shone october 8, 2009

historical examples

sidney’s half-days at home were occasions for agonies of jealousy on carlotta’s part.
k mary roberts rinehart

officious kindness, which often soothes the agonies of death, was denied her.
female scripture biographies, vol. i francis augustus c-x

this mournful exclamation, was not occasioned by the agonies of his body.
jesus, the messiah; or, the old testament prophecies fulfilled in the new testament scriptures (a lady) anonymous

it is an old trick to say that poets are mad,—you mistake our agonies for insanity.
alice, or the mysteries, complete edward bulwer-lytton

this was the climax of all the agonies of that wonderful night; but, fortunately, it was not so hopeless as the others.
at his gates, vol. 3(of 3) margaret oliphant

the agonies of his frost-bites were terrible, but the pangs of hunger were greater.
the hound from the north ridgwell cullum

it was my antagonist—it was wilson, who then stood before me in the agonies of his dissolution.
the works of edgar allan poe edgar allan poe

they can be given to better things than the agonies of such agency.
the fortunes of glencore charles james lever

noun (pl) -nies
acute physical or mental pain; anguish
the suffering or struggle preceding death
(brit, informal) pile on the agony, put on the agony, turn on the agony, to exaggerate one’s distress for sympathy or greater effect
(modifier) relating to or advising on personal problems about which people have written to the media: agony column, agony writer

late 14c., “mental suffering” (especially that of christ in the garden of gethsemane), from old french agonie, agoine “anguish, terror, death agony” (14c.), and directly from late latin agonia, from greek agonia “a (mental) struggle for victory,” originally “a struggle for victory in the games,” from agon “-ssembly for a contest,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). sense of “extreme bodily suffering” first recorded c.1600.

contest; wrestling; severe struggling with pain and suffering. anguish is the reflection on evil that is already past, while agony is a struggle with evil at the time present. it is only used in the new testament by luke (22:44) to describe our lord’s fearful struggle in gethsemane. the verb from which the noun “agony” is derived is used to denote an earnest endeavour or striving, as “strive [agonize] to enter” (luke 13:24); “then would my servants fight” [agonize] (john 18:36). comp. 1 cor. 9:25; col. 1:29; 4:12; 1 tim. 6:12; 2 tim. 4:7, where the words “striveth,” “labour,” “conflict,” “fight,” are the renderings of the same greek verb.

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