afflict

verb
af·​flict | \ə-ˈflikt \
afflicted; afflicting; afflicts

Definition of afflict 

transitive verb

1a : to cause pain or suffering to : to distress so severely as to cause persistent suffering or anguish people afflicted with arthritis a region afflicted by hunger and poverty

b : trouble, injure

2 obsolete

a : humble

b : overthrow

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Choose the Right Synonym for afflict

afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

Examples of afflict in a Sentence

The disease afflicts an estimated two million people every year. the South was afflicted by a severe drought

Recent Examples on the Web

Researchers believe the child, whose gender is still unknown, died after a deadly malaria outbreak afflicted the fifth-century community that once inhabited this tiny medieval town on a hill about 60 miles north of Rome. Kristine Phillips, The Seattle Times, "Archaeologists find ‘vampire burial’ site of a child feared capable of rising from the dead," 26 Oct. 2018 High school biology trains us to think of recessive/dominant and afflicted/unafflicted in very binary terms. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: The toxic truths within our DNA," 18 July 2018 Heart-valve disease can afflict one valve or several in combination, but the aortic and mitral valves are the ones most frequently affected. Marlene Cimons, Washington Post, "Latest heart valve treatment allows more patients to avoid open-heart surgery," 10 June 2018 Of great concern to health care professionals in sports, a heart afflicted by cardiomyopathy can experience sudden cardiac arrest during strenuous exercise. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Examining the Zeke Upshaw Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the NBA," 1 June 2018 The Dementia-Friendly Home This app uses illustrations and dialog boxes to show caregivers how to make a home more safe and more friendly for someone afflicted with dementia. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "5 apps that caregivers need to know about," 24 Apr. 2018 Hardcore cyclists are familiar with the redness and chafing that can afflict the delicate regions that come into contact with a bike saddle. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 2018 Now municipal authorities are taking a new step in the battle against the plastic waste that afflicts Mumbai and so many other cities across the country by criminalizing plastic bags with fines of up to $366 and jail sentences for repeat offenders. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, "Mumbai’s plastic ban carries costly fines and jail sentences for offenders," 26 June 2018 But in 2002, the VA excluded veterans who served offshore, many of whom claim to suffer from the same illnesses that afflict service members who fought in Vietnam jungles. Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Congress considering benefits for Navy vets with Agent Orange exposure," 2 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'afflict.' 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 afflict

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for afflict

Middle English afflihten "to excite, become distressed," probably verbal derivative of affliht, aflyght "disturbed, upset," borrowed from Latin afflīctus, past participle of afflīgere "to knock or strike down, ruin, distress severely," from ad- ad- + flīgere "to strike down" — more at profligate entry 1

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Statistics for afflict

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for afflict

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

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More Definitions for afflict

afflict

verb
af·​flict | \ə-ˈflikt \
afflicted; afflicting

Kids Definition of afflict

: to cause pain or unhappiness to An unusual illness afflicted the young girl.

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Comments on afflict

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