afflict

verb
af·​flict | \ ə-ˈflikt How to pronounce afflict (audio) \
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

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

The depopulations that in the 18th and 19th centuries afflicted the outer islands of the archipelago—such as Fair Isle and Foula in Shetland—are being reversed. The Economist, "Telling Britain’s story from its “ocean-gouged fringe”," 13 July 2019 Meanwhile, the disease of debt and fake ownership afflicts everyone. Hasan Zillur Rahim, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Thoreau looms large on Independence Day," 3 July 2019 Nationally about 100,000 people have sickle cell but worldwide millions are afflicted. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "South Floridians urged to take part in research leading to breakthroughs in fight against sickle cell disease," 8 June 2019 Further financial challenges afflict the projects, along with Ethiopia’s growing debt burden. Yunnan Chen, Quartz Africa, "Ethiopia and Kenya are struggling to manage debt for their Chinese-built railways," 4 June 2019 Laura was afflicted by an aggressive form of Alzheimer five years ago. courant.com, "Laura Rose Curry," 4 June 2019 Related Stories How could a problem dating from the days of Watergate afflict modern machines? Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Modern-Day Computer Bug Dates Back to 1974," 5 Nov. 2018 As Venezuela becomes more ungovernable, with sanctions having cut off much of its income, some argue, the fatigue afflicting many Maduro opponents has also begun affecting the regime. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "With Maduro entrenched in Venezuela, Trump loses patience and interest in issue, officials say," 19 June 2019 This is all part of a bigger gender-bias problem afflicting the field of artificial intelligence. AI systems — including voice assistants — are being designed mostly by men. Sigal Samuel, Vox, "Alexa, are you making me sexist?," 12 June 2019

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

14 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce afflict (audio) \
afflicted; afflicting

Kids Definition of afflict

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on afflict

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with afflict

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for afflict

Spanish Central: Translation of afflict

Nglish: Translation of afflict for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of afflict for Arabic Speakers

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