Definition of agony noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈæɡəni//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈæɡəni//
(pl. agonies) [uncountable, countable] Being ill
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  • extreme physical or mental pain Jack collapsed in agony on the floor. It was agony not knowing where the children were. She waited in an agony of suspense. The worst agonies of the war were now beginning. Tell me now! Don’t prolong the agony(= make it last longer). It is inhuman to keep a man facing the agony of execution for so long. See related entries: Being ill
  • Word Originlate Middle English (originally denoting mental anguish alone): via Old French and late Latin from Greek agōnia, from agōn ‘contest’. The sense of physical suffering dates from the early 17th cent.Extra examples He endured agonies of loneliness and misery. His face was contorted in agony as he tried to lift himself out of the chair. She mumbled an apology in an agony of embarrassment. She was causing David a great deal of agony. The little creature squirmed in its death agonies. The soldier died in agony. They went through agony in the search for their missing relatives.Idioms
    pile on the agony/gloom
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    (informal, especially British English) to make an unpleasant situation worse Bosses piled on the agony with threats of more job losses.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: agony