Agony – Definition & Meaning

Agony is a word that is often used to describe intense physical or emotional pain. It is a feeling that is difficult to describe, but one that most people have experienced at some point in their lives. Agony can be caused by a variety of factors, including illness, injury, emotional trauma, or even the loss of a loved one. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of agony, as well as its origins and associations.


Agony can be defined as extreme physical or mental suffering. It is a feeling of intense discomfort that can be caused by a variety of factors, including illness, injury, or emotional trauma. Agony is often described as a feeling of being trapped or helpless, unable to escape the pain that is being experienced.


The word agony comes from the Greek word agon, which means “contest” or “struggle”. In ancient Greece, the word was often used to describe the physical and mental pain that athletes experienced during competitions. Over time, the word came to be used more broadly to describe any kind of intense pain or suffering.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, agony is defined as “intense pain of mind or body”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “extreme physical or mental suffering”. The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “severe physical or mental pain”.


Agony is often associated with feelings of helplessness, despair, and hopelessness. It can be a very isolating experience, as the person experiencing the pain may feel like no one else can understand what they are going through. Agony is also associated with feelings of loss and grief, as it is often caused by the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship.


Some synonyms for agony include pain, suffering, torment, anguish, and misery. These words all describe intense physical or emotional discomfort.


Antonyms for agony include comfort, relief, ease, and happiness. These words describe feelings of contentment and well-being, which are the opposite of the intense discomfort associated with agony.

The same root words

The word agony shares its root with several other words, including antagonist, protagonist, and agony aunt. Antagonist and protagonist both come from the Greek word agon, which means “contest” or “struggle”. Agony aunt is a British term for a person who gives advice on personal problems, and it is thought to have originated from the idea of someone who helps others through their emotional struggles.

Example Sentences

  1. “The agony of losing a child is something that no parent should have to endure.”
  2. “The athlete was in agony after injuring his knee during the competition.”
  3. “She was writhing in agony as the pain in her stomach intensified.”
  4. “The agony of unrequited love can be unbearable.”
  5. “He was filled with agony when he learned that his best friend had died in a car accident.”
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