A person who experiences a lot of physical or mental pain might be in agony. The word "agony" is a noun:

  • Jeremy is in agony from a toothache. (The preposition "in" is often used with "agony.")
  • Michelle experienced years of agony after the death of her husband.
  • Athletes at the Olympic Games will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
  • War and famine cause real agony for those who are affected.
  • Road construction this summer has resulted in tremendous agony for drivers in this area.

You can make a verb from "agony" by adding an "ize" ending:

  • Martha agonizes over laying off her employees.
  • The company agonized over its decision to move to a new location before finally doing it.
  • You shouldn’t agonize over this. It’s not a big problem.
  • Bob is agonizing over his decision to get married. Now he doesn’t want to do it.

The word "agonizing" is an adjective:

  • That was an agonizing experience.
  • The responsibilities in this job are agonizing.
  • Waiting in line can be agonizing.
  • This is agonizing.

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This page was first published on July 31, 2012. It was last updated on July 24, 2015.