Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The suffering of intense physical or mental pain.
  • n. The struggle that precedes death.
  • n. A sudden or intense emotion: an agony of doubt.
  • n. A violent, intense struggle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Violent contest or striving.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Paroxysm of joy; keen emotion.
  • n. The last struggle of life; death struggle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Violent contest or striving.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Paroxysm of joy; keen emotion.
  • n. The last struggle of life; death struggle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A violent contest or struggle.
  • n. The struggle, frequently unconscious, that often precedes natural death: in this sense often used in the plural: as, he is in the agonies of death.
  • n. Extreme, and generally prolonged, bodily or mental pain; intense suffering; hence, intense mental excitement of any kind: as, the agony of suspense or uncertainty.
  • n. In a special sense, the sufferings of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
  • n. a state of acute pain

Etymologies

Middle English agonie, from Old French, from Late Latin agōnia, from Greek agōniā, from agōn, struggle, from agein, to drive; see ag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ἀγωνία (agonia, "emulation, competition, struggle"), from ἀγών (agon, "contest"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It rises naturally to a suffering man's lips as expressive of agony, though not exactly framed for _his_ individual _agony_.

    Autobiographical Sketches

  • Watching collision-injured wildlife scream and writhe in agony is very disturbing to everyone, particularly the nonshooting, nonhunting public.

    The Pernicious Lure Of The One-Shot Kill

  • But pain, passing a little blood preceeding a few large kidney stones and being in agony is not a bad punishment for his evilness …. for now.

    Think Progress » Clap on.

  • Persons in sorrow are too apt to be cross and peevish with those about them, and to lay it grievously to heart, if they but seem to neglect them; but Christ in his agony is as meek as ever, and carries it as patiently toward his followers as toward his Father, and is not apt to take things ill.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • He had been walking by, but stopped at my desk after seeing the expression of agony on my face.

    Chocolate & Vicodin

  • I tried to push through it and was left in agony for a week.

    Sick

  • Exercise leaves me in agony for days and so it pretty much rules it out, even walking and swimming leave me in pain.

    Must.Stop.Moaning.

  • I put my hand before my eyes, and cried out in agony — Oh! take him away!

    Chapter 4

  • I wept bitterly; and clasping my hands in agony, I exclaimed, "Oh! stars and clouds, and winds, ye are all about to mock me: if ye really pity me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not, depart, depart, and leave me in darkness."

    Chapter 17

  • When I'm in agony my skin is blotchy, my nose runs, and I suspect my wrinkles are even worse.

    For Emily....and Me

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