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From Ancient Greek ἀγωνία (agōnía, emulation, competition, struggle), from ἀγών (agṓn, contest).


  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈæ.ɡə.niː/


agony (countable and uncountable, plural agonies)

  1. Violent contest or striving.
    • 1849, Thomas Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, Chapter 10
      The world is convulsed by the agonies of great nations.
  2. Pain so extreme as to cause writhing or contortions of the body, similar to those made in the athletic contests in Greece; and hence, extreme pain of mind or body; anguish; paroxysm of grief; specifically, the sufferings of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.
    Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly. (Can we date this quote by Bible?) Luke xxii. 44.
  3. Paroxysm of joy; keen emotion.
    With cries and agonies of wild delight. (Can we date this quote by Alexander Pope?)
  4. The last struggle of life; death struggle.



Related termsEdit


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