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Agony aunt

Posted by Masakim on January 24, 2003

In Reply to: A guess posted by ESC on January 24, 2003

: : What's an Agony Aunt?

: This is a guess -- isn't that a type of newspaper advice column? Like Ann Landers/Dear Abby in the U.S.?

agony aunt n. [1970s +] a problem-solving (usu. woman) columnist of newspapers and magazines to whom the lovelorn and generally wretched can write; their letters willk be answered in print or privately; thus the male equivalent, _agony uncle_. [the first _OED_ citation is 1975, but it refers, in a biog. of the prototype Evelyn Home, to 'the "agony aunties" [of] the 'thirties'; note AGONY COLUMN n. dates from 1950s]
From Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green
Fifty new 'agony aunts' will be recruited by the Women's Royal Voluntary Services as a first stage in the crack-down on Army bullying. ... The network of Service Welfare ladies ... will listen to the problems of young soldiers. (_Daily Telegraph_, January 28,1988)
Since working together on Forum magazine in the early seventies, their paths have continue to cross and cross. They [Anna Reburn & Phillip Hudson] have ... become identified ... as the agony aunt and uncle of our media. (_Guardian_, June 20, 1985)