This Spicy Hot Word of the day, agita, is from the slang side of the tracks.
It’s Italian-American slang, in fact, and you can almost smell the garlic. But far be it from me, Ms. Etta Mology, to look askance at a juicy bit of slang that is so descriptive of our modern day angst. No, I say, if it’s in Webster’s it’s fair game to gobble down as today’s Vocabulary Vitamin. So grab a glass of literacy and gulp away: Agita, or even agida, is your Vocabulary Vitamin. Yes, I’ve seen it spelled both ways, both pronounced, “AH-jih-ta,” with the same emphasis as “agitate.” (Listen here.)
Our Hot Word of the Day, agita, is a noun.
It’s defined as: Heartburn, acid indigestion or an upset stomach; also, a feeling of agitation or anxiety derived, some say from the Italian “agitare” meaning “to agitate, trouble, stir up.” Or, as Webster’s professes, the source may be “acido” (pronounced “AH-chee-do”), which is Italian for “stomach acid.” No doubt this is based on the belief that when you are aggravated, manipulated, and exasperated, you may have to reach for the anti-acid lozenges.
A Vocabulary Vitamin with Italian cousins.
There is a connection between agita and another Italian word,“agitata,” meaning very excited. Ever heard the expression “She’s not yelling, she’s Italian!?” That’s agitata. Agita is related to “agitato“ as well, a word used for music played at an agitated pace. Listen and watch the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as it is played “presto agitato.“
Places you’ll find agita, our Vocabulary Vitamin.
Woody Allen included a song named “Agita” in the film “Broadway Danny Rose.” Comedian Jackie Mason said agita is like having a migraine all over your body. Author Alexandra Levit reports going through a lot of agita trying to make it in the corporate world as a twenty-something. This acidic little word has come a long way since the turn of the century when it was brought to America by Italian immigrants, who no doubt experienced agita just getting here.
Agita, your spicy hot word of the day, is a Vocabulary Vitamin describing heartburn of the soul, no matter which etymological origin you prefer:
ag• i• ta (according to American Heritage)
Pronunciation: (ăjˈĭ-tə, äˈjĭ-)
Origin: Italian, from agitare, to agitate, from Latin agitāre; see agitate .
: acid indigestion.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
ag• i• ta (according to Merriam-Webster)
Etymology: S Italian dial. pron. of Italian acido, literally, heartburn, acid, from Latin acidus
: a feeling of agitation or anxiety
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010.
The Daily Rant, “You’re Giving Me Agida.”
The Word Detective, “Dyspepsia of the Soul”
Alexandra Levit, “It’s the Little Things, Water Cooler Wisdom”