Share this entry

agonistic Syllabification: ag·o·nis·tic
Pronunciation: /ˌaɡəˈnistik/

Definition of agonistic in English:


1Combative; polemical.
Example sentences
  • Now, as we all know, I am not a huge fan of speculations about essential differences between the sexes, although I do get that what Tannen is saying there is that there's no real reason that political discourse must necessarily be agonistic.
  • Baudrillard contends, through an adaptation of Mauss, that all systems regulate themselves through dual, agonistic movements.
  • In this case, the narratives tend to have a less univocally negative or agonistic flavor and reflect both the triumphs and tribulations of an individual's life experiences.
1.1 Zoology (Of animal behavior) associated with conflict.
Example sentences
  • The agonistic behavior of many group-living animals, such as wintering passerines, ranges from overt aggression to more or less ritualized threat displays.
  • Rank was ascertained by observation of agonistic interactions between study animals.
  • In July 1997, we quantified only chases directed at other fish (some of which concluded with nips at other fish) because this was the most prevalent agonistic behavior we observed.
1.2 Biochemistry Of, relating to, or acting as an agonist.
Example sentences
  • Nicotine and the snake venom also bind these receptors with agonistic and antagonistic effects, respectively.
  • It has both agonistic actions and weak opioid antagonistic activity.
  • Apomorphine is also currently under study for use in the therapy of male impotence because of its dopamine agonistic effects.


Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek agōnistikos, from agōnistēs 'contestant', from agōn 'contest'.



Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • Models of interference competition, therefore, do not provide a satisfying answer to the question why foragers interact agonistically in such systems.
  • Clothing ideals were part of the larger social world in which social identity was agonistically nurtured and won or lost.
  • Also, they will foot grasp, lip-smack, nuzzle, gently grasp one another and sit pressed together in addition to agonistically responding to strangers.

Definition of agonistic in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

More on agonistic

Nearby words

Translate agonistic

into Italian
Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhôdē
arrogantly superior and disdainful