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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

A rundown of the agony and expense of airline travel as you look forward to the holidays.
Holiday Travel: Rundown of Agony December 10, 2011

The former chess champion said he remembered screaming in agony.
Chess Champ Garry Kasparov: ‘They Were Trying to Break My Leg’ Eli Lake August 16, 2012

Stalin survived several days of agony, ultimately choking to death in his bed on the night of March 5.
Did Tito Kill Stalin? A New Book on the Theory Noah Charney July 5, 2012

Autism impacts families across ethnic and economic lines, and the agony it causes mothers and fathers can be mentally crushing.
The Socialite Autism Murder Dennis Vacco May 13, 2010

But once there, the men drugged Northup—he was not intoxicated, he said—and after a night of agony he fainted.
The ‘12 Years a Slave’ Book Shows Slavery As Even More Appalling Than In the Film Jimmy So October 17, 2013

Historical Examples

There was such an agony of supplication in her voice and her attitude, that Pascal was touched.
The Count’s Millions Emile Gaboriau

He awaited, in an agony of suspense, the rattle of the musketry.
The Old Manse (From “Mosses From An Old Manse”) Nathaniel Hawthorne

“There’s nothing more you can do I care for now,” she broke out with a look of agony.
Willing to Die Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

agony by agony, something is gained, and my personal agony counts with the rest.
The Conquest of Fear Basil King

For His work’s sake, His soul was required to pass through the agony of losing every human consolation.
Our Master Bramwell Booth

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 “assembly 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.


Read Also:

  • Agonize

    to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in . to put forth great effort of any kind. to distress with extreme pain; torture. Contemporary Examples Parents stood up to agonize about their responsibility, as cosigners, for the loans of their now unemployed offspring. NYU Professor: Are Student Loans Immoral? Andrew Ross September 26, 2012 The […]

  • Agonise

    to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in . to put forth great effort of any kind. to distress with extreme pain; torture. Historical Examples Othello must not agonise for a cloak, but ‘the little orphan Alice Fell’ has nothing else to agonise for. Oxford Lectures on Poetry Andrew Cecil Bradley If we agonise that […]

  • Agonising

    to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in . to put forth great effort of any kind. to distress with extreme pain; torture. Contemporary Examples The sign says that it produced “extreme emaciation and a slow, agonising death.” My Visit To Hell Christopher Buckley January 29, 2009 Historical Examples To the castaways every hour of […]

  • Agonist

    a person engaged in a contest, conflict, struggle, etc., especially the protagonist in a literary work. a person who is torn by inner conflict. Physiology. a contracting muscle whose action is opposed by another muscle. Compare (def 3). Pharmacology. a chemical substance capable of activating a receptor to induce a full or partial pharmacological response. […]

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