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agitate (verb) to stir up, to demand changes (in law, social practices, etc.); to shake the liquid in a container; to cause anger, worry, or anxiety, or to upset a person.
To agitate for or against something is to struggle for or against something. If people who want changes in law, customs, social practices, etc., struggle for them (by rousing people to action), they agitate for them. People may agitate against an existing law, a custom, or a social practice demanding its abolition. People may also agitate for their rights. If women demanding equal rights with men start a movement for it, they agitate. In some chemical experiments, we shake the liquid in the container thoroughly. That means we agitate the liquid. Agitating (usually a liquid) consists in shaking it thoroughly. When bad news, disappointments, failures or fear of failure, losses, unfavorable circumstances cause anger, worry, and anxiety in us, they agitate us, or better, we are agitated.
- Feminist groups in Europe and in the US had to agitate for a long period to secure equal rights for and better treatment of women.
- Certain diagnostic tests require fluids extracted from patients' bodies and mixed with chemical substances to be agitated.
- Paul is unable to concentrate on his work as he is agitated by the news of his son's serious illness.