noun, plural ag·o·nies.

  1. extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.
  2. a display or outburst of intense mental or emotional excitement: an agony of joy.
  3. the struggle preceding natural death: mortal agony.
  4. a violent struggle.
  5. (often initial capital letter) Theology. the sufferings of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.

noun plural -nies

  1. acute physical or mental pain; anguish
  2. the suffering or struggle preceding death
  3. pile on the agony, put on the agony or turn on the agony British informal to exaggerate one’s distress for sympathy or greater effect
  4. (modifier) relating to or advising on personal problems about which people have written to the mediaagony column; agony writer

late 14c., “mental suffering” (especially that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane), from Old French agonie, agoine “anguish, terror, death agony” (14c.), and directly from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agonia “a (mental) struggle for victory,” originally “a struggle for victory in the games,” from agon “assembly for a contest,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). Sense of “extreme bodily suffering” first recorded c.1600.

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