afflict

play
verb af·flict \ ə-ˈflikt \

Definition of afflict

transitive verb
1 a :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

Examples of afflict in a Sentence

  1. The disease afflicts an estimated two million people every year.

  2. the South was afflicted by a severe drought

Recent Examples of afflict from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of afflict

Middle English, from Latin afflictus, past participle of affligere to cast down, from ad- + fligere to strike — more at profligate

Synonym Discussion of 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

AFFLICT Defined for Kids

afflict

play
verb af·flict \ ə-ˈflikt \

Definition of afflict for Students

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


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