The Joy of Language Learning

Agility, Agency, Agitation

Latin agere means to do, drive or lead and gives us words such as agile (one who can do things easily or is quick-moving/active, as in, he has an agile mind), agility (this gymnast’s agility is exceptional), agent (person or thing that acts or does things, often on behalf of others), reagent (substance that enables or acts in a chemical reaction) and agency. For regent (a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated), see here.

Agency is commonly used in reference to businesses or service providers that act on behalf of others (modelling agency) or to some government departments (Intelligence Agency) that act on behalf of the government. It can also be used to mean action or effect (this change in the rock is caused by the agency of heat and pressure), the capacity of someone to act in a given context (teacher agency and student agency are both critical for effective education) or medium/mediation (the dispute was settled through the agency of mutual friends).

Agenda is a list of things to do or a plan. When your friend is feeling agitated she is upset or disturbed about something and when political parties talk of ‘launching an agitation’ they are planning to drive people to action.

High Frequency Words for GRE, GMAT, SAT, CAT & Other Admission Tests:

Agile, Agility, Agent, Reagent, Agency

Agenda, Agitate, Agitation

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