14th century, via Old French and Latin from Old Greek ἀγωνία, from ἀγών.

The sense of "extreme pain" from c.

  • (America) IPA: /ˈæ.ɡə.niː/


  1. The last struggle of life; death struggle.
  2. Extreme pain.
  3. (Bible) The sufferings of Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.
    • 1611, King James Version, Luke xxii. 44.
      Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly.
  4. 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.
  5. Paroxysm of joy; keen emotion.
    • 1725, Homer; [Alexander Pope], transl., “Book X”, in The Odyssey of Homer. […], volume III, London: Printed for Bernard Lintot, OCLC 8736646 ↗:
      With cries and agonies of wild delight.
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Freudenausbruch
  • Italian: parossismo
  • Russian: вы́плеск эмо́ций

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