Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 20:11:55 -0400 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Re: Agita At 07:41 PM 6/30/97 -0400, you wrote: >For a newspaper column, I am trying to trace the word "agita" in English. >It is absent from most dictionaries, both standard and slang, and Anne >Soukhanov, in her "Word Watch," notes 1982 as an "early" citation, which >seems awfully late to me. Does anyone have anything earlier, or a sense of >how the Italian "agitato" became "agita"? > >Thanks, > >Evan Morris >words1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > I don't have a dictionary to hand on this, and could well be wrong, but whatever its spelling my sense is that the word (usually encountered in speech not writing??) is actually Italian "acido" (acid in the stomach, worry, annoyance, anxiety), as originally pronounced by English speakers of Italian background. It was in general use when I arrived here in NYCity in 1979, and may well go back to the early 20C among Italian speakers, though I don't know how long it's been out there in the larger culture. That it is generally known here is perhaps supported by the fact that the two or three times I have used the word in class (as early as 1987) it has never failed to raised at least a bit of a laugh. I have also heard radio talk-show hosts use it since around the mid80s, though I was not paying attention to that medium before then. Greg Downing/NYU greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]