Dictionary > Agony


Origin: L. Agonia, gr, orig. A contest, fr., cf. F. Agonie. See Agon.
1. Violent contest or striving. The world is convulsed by the agonies of great nations. (Macaulay)
2. 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. Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly. (Luke xxii. 44)
3. Paroxysm of joy; keen emotion. With cries and agonies of wild delight. (Pope)
4. The last struggle of life; death struggle.
Synonym: anguish, torment, throe, distress, pangs, suffering.
agony, anguish, pang. These words agree in expressing extreme pain of body or mind. Agony denotes acute and permanent pain, usually of the whole system, and often producing contortions. Anguish denotes severe pressure, and, considered as bodily suffering, is more commonly local (as anguish of a wound), thus differing from agony. A pang is a paroxysm of excruciating pain. It is severe and transient. The agonies or pangs of remorse; the anguish of a wounded conscience. Oh, sharp convulsive pangs of agonizing pride!

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