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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Agony \Ag"o*ny\, n.; pl. Agonies. [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
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
3. Paroxysm of joy; keen emotion.
With cries and agonies of wild delight. --Pope.
4. The last struggle of life; death struggle.
Syn: Anguish; torment; throe; distress; pangs; suffering.
Usage: 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!" --Dryden.
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