A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 25, 2009
Agita (Agida; Acida)

"Agita” achieved its greatest fame as a song title in the Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose (1984). The movie featured the Carnegie Deli and the “Agita” song mentioned Italian food, so the word “agita” became popularly associated with heartburn. It is often explained that the word “agita” is Italian, from “agitate.” “Agita” remains in popular use in New York City.

The spelling “agida” is also used. Some scholars (including the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) claim that “acida” is also used, from the Italian “acido” (heartburn or stomach acid). These scholars deny a derivation from the word “agitate.” It is possible that “agita” and “agida"/"acida" are similar words with different origins. “Agita” is cited in English from at least 1979.


Urban Dictionary
agita
1.Heartburn or gastric distress.
2.Giving you more aggrevation than you can stand.
1. Jeez eating that lasagna & scungelli before bed really gave me agita.
2. Christ, I got such agita from that bitch.

by coco larue Jul 22, 2004

agita
An Italian-american word for Heartburn, acid indigestion, an upset stomach or, by extension, a general feeling of upset.
“Idk what I ate today but I have such agita from it!”
by Mscala Jun 16, 2008

Urban Dictionary
agita or [agida]
Italian-American slang for heartburn but it can also mean mental aggravation.
The word is Italian-American slang derived from the Italian “agitare” meaning “to agitate.
Found an article about one of the stars of The Sopranos who’s working on a new movie about feuding pizza parlor owners. The title: “Agida.” ...
“Eew, I’ve got agida.” (swallows) “Give some soda now, YUCK!”
by Esmee Jun 23, 2005

Wikipedia: Broadway Danny Rose
Broadway Danny Rose is a black and white 1984 Academy Award-nominated film written, directed by and starring Woody Allen.

Synopsis
The plot concerns a hapless talent manager who, by helping a client, gets dragged into a love triangle involving the mob. Mia Farrow costars. The story is told in flashback, as an anecdote shared amongst a group of comedians over lunch at New York’s Carnegie Deli. Talent agent “Broadway” Danny Rose (Allen) represents countless incompetent entertainers and one talented one: washed-up lounge singer Lou Canova Nick Apollo Forte, whose career is on the rebound.

Lou is having an affair with a woman, Tina (Farrow), who had previously dated a gangster. Lou wants her to accompany him to his big gig at the Waldorf Astoria, where he will perform in front of Milton Berle, who could potentially hire him for future gigs. At the singer’s insistence, Danny Rose masquerades as Farrow’s boyfriend to divert attention from the affair. However, Tina’s ex-boyfriend is extremely jealous, and thinks that Danny’s and Tina’s relationship is real. He thus orders a hit on Danny, hoping he will win Tina back.

Internet Movie Database
Soundtracks for
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

“Agita”
Written and Performed by Nick Apollo Forte

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: ag·i·ta
Pronunciation: \ˈa-jə-tə\
Function: noun
Etymology: S Italian dialect pron. of Italian acido, literally, heartburn, acid, from Latin acidus
Date: 1982
: a feeling of agitation or anxiety

Google Books
Two + Two:
A Novel

By Martin Boris
New York, NY: Times Books
1979
Pg. 200:
My sons got Italian blood, proud blood. When someone sleeps with an Italian’s wife he gets mad. My son, my real son, would get agita.

Google Books
Double De Palma:
A Film Study with Brian De Palma

By Susan Dworkin
Published by Newmarket Press
1984
Pg. 43:
In considering Annette for the role of Holly Body, Brian had pulled from his distant Italian past and merrily put the studio through a siege of old-fashioned agita.

Google Books
The Italian American Heritage:
A Companion to Literature and Arts

By Pellegrino D’Acierno
Published by Taylor & Francis
1999
Pg. 703:
acida or agida n. (from acido or acid): literally, acid in the stomach; an upset stomach but often used to indicate aggravation and anxiety. Agida (in its Italian American pronunciation) is used as a noun (that fellow gives me acida or agida) (Pg. 704—ed.) and typically accompanied by gesturing to the stomach. It is not to be confused with agitato (agitated, distressed, a more total and more extroverted version of emotional turmoil). Agida is listed here as an example of those Italian Americanisms that have passed into American usage since 1972, the year in which Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather popularied a repertoire of terms from the Italian American subculture ranging from traditional usages (infamia, famiglia, vendetta) and proverbs to primal words (such interjections as mannaggia! [dammit!] and marrona! [Sicilian for Madonna!]) to “technical” words from the criminal underworld (caporegime, consigliere).

Google Answers
Subject: Re: Definition and correct spelling of word “agida”
Answered By: voila-ga on 18 Jun 2004 08:38 PDT

Agita: Heartburn, acid indigestion, an upset stomach or, by extension, a general feeling of upset. The word is Italian-American slang derived from the Italian “agitare” meaning “to agitate.
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=21958

“Agita” (but I think more correctly “agida") is Italian-American slang,so it may not make it into any traditional Italian dictionaries. You’ll find it in print occasionally, and in American TV and movies, but I guess it’s not in common enough usage in the U.S. to make it into American English dictionaries. Found a bit of speculation from a professor in the Department of Italian at NYU—he thinks it may derive from the Italian word “acidita,” which means acidity—as in the stomach upset and heartburn you get from being stressed and annoyed—e.g., agida. Found an article about one of the stars of The Sopranos who’s working on a new movie about feuding pizza parlor owners. The title: “Agida.” ...

In Italy you will more likely hear “acidita’” - acidity.”
http://www.wordwizard.com/clubhouse/founddiscuss1.asp?Num=2069

I had been spelling it with a ‘t’ taken from “agitate” rather than the “d” in acidity until I found that conversation.  The “agida” spelling seems to be more correct.  Neither spelling has found its way into American English dictionaries but with the popularity of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” it very well could.

f/k/a...
November 25, 2006
what is “agita”?
Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 11:59 am
The Ag-nonymous Editor of Blawg Review, wrote to me overnight, concerned that I might not know the origin of one of my favorite words, agita. Ed sent me this link to a medical website which explains:

Agita: Heartburn, acid indigestion, an upset stomach or, by extension, a general feeling of upset. The word is Italian-American slang derived from the Italian “agitare” meaning “to agitate.”

That launched me on a lengthy tangent, in which I discovered a fuller and fun discussion of agita at The Word Detective, which includes:

You won’t find “agita” in most dictionaries, although it is a quintessential Italian-American slang word. Strictly speaking, “agita” is a stomach upset or heartburn. But “agita” can also mean that special kind of existential dyspepsia of the soul you get when absolutely everything goes wrong. Comedian Jackie Mason has explained “agita” as “when you have been aggravated to the point where it feels like you have a serious migraine headache throughout your whole body.” “Agita” is thus more or less the Italian-American equivalent of the Yiddish “tsuris” (”misery”), an equation not lost on Woody Allen, who made a song about “agita” the center-piece of his 1984 film “Broadway Danny Rose.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (1) Comments • Wednesday, February 25, 2009 • Permalink


A brief video documentary study on the definition and dynamics of agita:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xgKj-Mx1AQ

Posted by Domenick Pontoriero  on  11/05  at  03:25 PM

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