1. accompanied by, filled with, or resulting in agony or distress: We spent an agonizing hour waiting to hear if the accident had been serious or not.

verb (used without object), ag·o·nized, ag·o·niz·ing.

  1. to suffer extreme pain or anguish; be in agony.
  2. to put forth great effort of any kind.

verb (used with object), ag·o·nized, ag·o·niz·ing.

  1. to distress with extreme pain; torture.


  1. to suffer or cause to suffer agony
  2. (intr) to make a desperate effort; struggle; strive

1580s, “to torture,” from Middle French agoniser or directly from Medieval Latin agonizare, from Greek agonizesthai “to contend in the struggle” (see agony). Intransitive sense of “to suffer physical pain” is recorded from 1660s. That of “to worry intensely” is from 1853. Related: Agonized; agonizing.

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