Agile Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Being agile is a skill admired by many, but what exactly does the word agile (ˈæd͡ʒ.aɪl/ /ˈæd͡ʒ.əl) mean, and where did it come from? How can agile be used in a sentence?

You have questions, and we have answers. Read on as we dissect the term agile to uncover its definition, origin, usage, and more.  

What Is the Definition of Agile?

When used as an adjective, the Macmillan Dictionary says the word agile can be defined as being able to move quickly and easily as well as having a quick resourceful and adaptable character. 

In other words, it’s the ability to create and respond to change with quick, easy grace. 

What Does Agile Mean in Reference to Software Development? 

Agile software development — at its core — is centered around the idea of iterative development

These methodologies really emphasize the importance of maintaining a close collaboration between business stakeholders and the development team — essentially, self-organizing, cross-functional teams. 

Some development teams even adopt agile rituals; things like retros, backlogs, and regular stand-ups are commonly prioritized here.

Just to name a few for reference, Kanban, Extreme Programming, Scrum, and Feature-Driven Development (FDD) are some of the most widely used Agile methodologies around the world.

What Is the Word Origin of Agile?

Agile — as we use it currently in the English language — was first noted in the 1580s. Our word of the day comes from Latin agilis, which literally means “quick” or “nimble.” The term agile also comes from agere, which means “to keep in movement” or “to set in motion.”

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Agile?

When looking to make sense of a new word, it can be especially helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms. What are synonyms and antonyms, you ask? 

In short, a synonym is a word that has the same (or nearly the same) meaning as another word, whereas an antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of another word. 


  • Light-footed 
  • Limber 
  • Skinny 
  • Light
  • Spare 
  • Fleet-footed
  • Nimble footed 
  • Stalwart
  • Sturdy
  • Thewy
  • Jacked 
  • Brawny 
  • Quick moving
  • Powerful 
  • Twinkle toed
  • Lightfoot
  • Beefy
  • Husky 
  • Easy moving
  • Quick-witted
  • Quick off the mark
  • Rapier like
  • On the ball
  • Finely honed
  • Clear-headed
  • Quick thinking
  • Hunky
  • Burly
  • Healthy
  • Tough 
  • Quick on the trigger
  • Quick on the draw
  • Incisive
  • Slender
  • Svelte
  • Spare
  • Light 
  • Quick on the uptake
  • Full of energy
  • Full of life
  • Full of pep
  • Cool 
  • Cute
  • Jocular 
  • Full of beans
  • As lively as a grig
  • Animated
  • Spry
  • Lightsome
  • Active 
  • Full of vim and vigour
  • Zippy
  • Peppy
  • Frisky 
  • As merry as a grig 
  • Able-bodied
  • Well developed
  • Smart-aleck
  • Smart
  • Witty 
  • Smarty pants
  • Tongue in cheek


  • Empty headed 
  • Clumsy
  • Awkward
  • Lumbering 
  • Weak-minded 
  • Stiff
  • Ungainly
  • Gawky
  • Graceless
  • Klutzy 
  • Dull witted 
  • Ungraceful
  • Heavy
  • Ponderous
  • Slow
  • Lumpish
  • Artless
  • Unrefined
  • Bungling
  • Bumbling
  • Inactive
  • Unsupple
  • Apathetic
  • Lazy
  • Inexpert
  • Unskilled
  • Oafish
  • Floundering
  • Green
  • Dull
  • Jerky 
  • Rude
  • Unfit
  • Vapid
  • Spiritless
  • Melancholy
  • Sluggish
  • Torpid
  • Lackadaisical
  • Languid 
  • Inanimate
  • Dead
  • Lethargic 
  • Sickly 
  • Shaky 
  • Snake and boes
  • Plodding 

How Can You Use Agile in a Sentence?

By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of the word agile — so why not put your newfound knowledge to the test? Challenge yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with using the word agile. 

Need some help? Here are some excellent sentence examples for you to review below:

“How agile was his mind, you say? Well, Johnny had an extraordinarily agile mind; in all honesty, the kid was quick-witted to a fault.”

“There are a few doubters that believe Agile development methodologies — as well as other development methods like it — are just too extreme.” 

“Every day, more and more companies are introducing an Agile approach in their organizations, so why don’t you do your absolute best to welcome changing environments, and adopt Agile practices, too?”

“If you want to be more agile, you may want to consider getting a personal trainer to help with your flexibility.”

“The always changing requirements tend to bug a lot of people, but I’m pretty agile and can easily adapt so it doesn’t really bother me.”

“Does anyone really have a clue about the differences between the average agile process and Scrum process?”

“The mouse was unbelievably agile as he dodged the owl… for a moment, he even seemed invincible.”

“My dog isn’t very agile so he probably wouldn’t do very well in an obstacle race.”

“To tackle this project efficiently, you’re going to have to turn to agile methods.”

“I was able to read The Agile Manifesto yesterday — it’s truly groundbreaking.” 

“Once you become a Scrum master and fully grasp the Agile project management style, your team will become Agile teams where these small increments of work become second nature to everyone.” 

“Despite not being very agile, I won the foot race.”

What Are Translations of Agile?

Did you know that there is more than one way to say agile? Yup, it’s true — here are some common translations of this interesting term:

  • Czech — hbitý
  • Dutch — behendig
  • Finnish — ketterä
  • Greek — εύστροφος
  • Danish — agil
  • American English — agile 
  • Turkish — çevik
  • Ukrainian — agile
  • Vietnamese — nhanh nhẹn
  • Brazilian Portuguese — ágil 
  • Chinese — 敏捷的
  • European Spanish — ágil 
  • French — agile 
  • Afrikaans — rats
  • Arabic — رشيق
  • Bulgarian — подвижен
  • Croatian — okretan
  • Norwegian — smidig
  • Polish — zwinny
  • Russian — проворный
  • German — beweglich 
  • Italian — agile 
  • Japanese — 機敏な
  • Korean — 민첩한
  • European Portuguese — ágil 
  • Spanish — ágil 
  • Thai — คล่องแคล่ว, กระฉับกระเฉง


Simply put, our word of the day is an adjective that can be defined as quick and well-coordinated in movement as well as able to deal with new situations in a fast and efficient manner. 

In addition, the term agile is the name of an approach to software development that seeks the continuous delivery of working software created in rapid iterations. 


What is Agile? | Agile 101 | Agile Alliance

AGILE (adjective) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary

History | The Agile Manifesto