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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

She later told me she recognized several Socialist Workers Party agitators in the room.
UK Jew’s Harassment Claim Fails Paul Usiskin March 31, 2013

But their “harshest” was on March 14, when pro-Russian agitators attacked armed with clubs, baseball bats and knives.
Soccer Hooligans Prep Ukraine for Putin Jamie Dettmer March 19, 2014

Historical Examples

Nothing remained for the agitators but to protest and disperse.
The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte William Milligan Sloane

Some of the agitators whispered, “He will be off, he will escape from us!”
The Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

Your agitators, my dear Mrs. Hurst, are not worth powder and shot.
Phoebe, Junior Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant

In the summer of 1914 the dreams of these agitators were realized.
The New York Stock Exchange in the Crisis of 1914 Henry George Stebbins Noble

That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary.
Miscellaneous Aphorisms; The Soul of Man Oscar Wilde

“If these agitators on the Left have any qualities of statesmen, now’s their time to show it,” he said.
The Eternal City Hall Caine

They made themselves the agitators in an assembly of which they might have been the statesmen.
History of the Girondists, Volume I Alphonse de Lamartine

If they hate England it is because they have been so taught by priests and agitators for their own ends.
Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

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

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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    one of the Graces. Historical Examples In her babyhood Aglaia herself repudiated the name, as far as common use went, and persisted in calling herself “Dums.” Sixes and Sevens O. Henry One day, only a week after her fourth birthday, Aglaia disappeared. Sixes and Sevens O. Henry The delight of the miller’s life was his […]

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