af·​flic·​tion | \ ə-ˈflik-shən How to pronounce affliction (audio) \

Definition of affliction

1 : a cause of persistent pain or distress a mysterious affliction
2 : great suffering felt empathy with their affliction
3 : the state of being afflicted by something that causes suffering her affliction with polio

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Examples of affliction in a Sentence

She lost her sight and is now learning to live with her affliction. He died from a mysterious affliction.
Recent Examples on the Web The number-one affliction of all of our veterans, of all of our wars — Iraq, Vietnam, back to the Civil War — all over the world, is hearing loss, for obvious reasons. Jack King, Vulture, "Sound of Metal Star (and Oscar Nominee) Paul Raci Would Do This All Again," 19 Apr. 2021 Women, unaffected by the affliction, were slaughtered years earlier in a war with the Spackle, or so the legend goes. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "For better or worse, ‘Chaos Walking’ crushes the possibility of a sci-fi franchise (review)," 5 Mar. 2021 After a day at the beach (featured last episode), everyone is drinking and suffering from a severe affliction of Elephantiasis of the Jenga. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "Summer House Season-Finale Recap: ’Til Death Do Us Party," 22 Apr. 2021 One journalist scolded Bantam Books, the publisher of A Brief History of Time, for exploiting Hawking’s affliction by placing a photo of him in his wheelchair on the book’s cover. Samanth Subramanian, The New Republic, "The Mysteries of Stephen Hawking’s Universe," 6 Apr. 2021 My own recent affliction seems like some combination of the two. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "America Has Pandemic Senioritis," 15 Apr. 2021 Alessandra Ricci’s vision of Pandora, whose origin story includes misogyny but not assault, unleashes swirls of color that symbolize both affliction and transcendence. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: Exhibit upends male-centric myths, legends and folklore," 16 Oct. 2020 The film is stingy with clear answers about the affliction that causes Luna to develop a vicious bite and a taste for flesh. Erik Piepenburg, New York Times, "Stream These 5 Chilling New Horror Movies," 2 Apr. 2021 Matzo may be known as the bread of affliction, but the Passover meal is a feast. Bon Appétit, "6 New Passover Recipes From Chefs Who Celebrate," 22 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affliction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of affliction

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for affliction

Middle English affliccioun "misery, distress, self-inflicted pain," borrowed from Anglo-French afflicion, borrowed from Late Latin afflīctiōn-, afflīctiō, from Latin afflīgere "to afflict" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

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Learn More about affliction

Time Traveler for affliction

Time Traveler

The first known use of affliction was in the 14th century

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Statistics for affliction

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Affliction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for affliction



English Language Learners Definition of affliction

: something (such as a disease) that causes pain or suffering
: the state of being affected by something that causes suffering


af·​flic·​tion | \ ə-ˈflik-shən How to pronounce affliction (audio) \

Kids Definition of affliction

1 : the state of being affected by something that causes pain or unhappiness his affliction with polio
2 : something that causes pain or unhappiness Chicken pox is an affliction caused by a virus.

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