verb (used with object), ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing.

  1. to move or force into violent, irregular action: The hurricane winds agitated the sea.
  2. to shake or move briskly: The machine agitated the mixture.
  3. to move to and fro; impart regular motion to.
  4. to disturb or excite emotionally; arouse; perturb: a crowd agitated to a frenzy by impassioned oratory; a man agitated by disquieting news.
  5. to call attention to by speech or writing; discuss; debate: to agitate the question.
  6. to consider on all sides; revolve in the mind; plan.

verb (used without object), ag·i·tat·ed, ag·i·tat·ing.

  1. to arouse or attempt to arouse public interest and support, as in some political or social cause or theory: to agitate for the repeal of a tax.


  1. (tr) to excite, disturb, or trouble (a person, the mind, or feelings); worry
  2. (tr) to cause to move vigorously; shake, stir, or disturb
  3. (intr; often foll by for or against) to attempt to stir up public opinion for or against something
  4. (tr) to discuss or debate in order to draw attention to or gain support for (a cause, etc)to agitate a political cause

1580s, “to disturb,” from Latin agitatus, past participle of agitare “to put in constant motion, drive onward, impel,” frequentative of agere “to move, drive” (see agitation). Literal sense of “move to and fro, shake” is from 1590s. Related: Agitated; agitating.

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