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

His unshakeable philosophy was both consolation and affliction for a country battered by 20th century wars, incursions and occupations. Christopher Knight,, "Review: LACMA’s ‘Art of Korean Writing’ reveals the brilliance in each brushstroke," 29 June 2019 Her twitching and fretting stem from a lifelong affliction of nervousness. Linda Velasquez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kate: Teen turns to writing to cope with anxiety," 27 June 2019 In Buffalo, there’s a fine line between affection and affliction for hope. Washington Post, "Buffalo buzzing over Bills draft picks, Sabres lottery win," 7 May 2018 As his affliction occurred during the dawn of the commercial air travel industry, Clarke took an avid interest in airplanes, reading every book available and building countless airplane models during his recovery., "Clarke R. Stocker," 5 June 2019 For instance, a small fish that dies to plastic poisoning could be eaten by a bigger fish, which would then inherit that damaging plastic as well as the affliction. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Whale Washed Up on a Beach with 88 Pounds of Plastic in Its Stomach," 19 Mar. 2019 Most obsessives are encumbered by their affliction. John Anderson, WSJ, "The Heights of Obsession," 22 Feb. 2019 People think that only athletes and weekend warriors suffer from this affliction. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "Museums We Never Knew We Were Missing," 9 Aug. 2018 Balzac's Sylvain Pons, Proust's Charles Swann, and, most of all, Huysmans's Jean des Esseintes are all presented as victims of an insatiable affliction, the obsessive compulsion to possess. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "A Secret Paris Museum and an Aristocratic Family Decimated by the Holocaust," 9 Feb. 2017

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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Statistics for affliction

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for affliction

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

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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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Comments on affliction

What made you want to look up affliction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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