1A public celebration of games, including athletic, dramatic, and musical contests, in the ancient Greek or Roman world; a contest for a prize at such games.
2A verbal contest or dispute between two characters in an ancient Greek play.
3A painful struggle, especially a psychological one; a conflict, fight, competition.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Hugh Broughton (1549–1612), divine and Hebraist. From (i) classical Latin agōn struggle, public exhibition of games, contest, in post-classical Latin also spiritual struggle, martyrdom (late 2nd century in Tertullian), death struggle.