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

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 Insomnia is a common affliction in the outdoors, and Outside’s editors are hardly immune. The Editors, Outside Online, 9 May 2022 With the studied patience of a professional wise man, Mr. Friedmann listens to their laments and assures them, by way of consolation, that their problems are a nearly universal affliction. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Besides the unequal assignment of factory tasks, verbal harassment was a daily affliction, Chatman said. Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2022 But the zoo has also closed its aviaries to foot traffic, partly due to concerns that visitors could contribute to the affliction’s spread. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 22 Mar. 2022 The affliction continues to confound the medical establishment. Meredith Cohn,, 13 Feb. 2022 As the affliction spread, Italians called it the French Disease. Talia Herman, ProPublica, 1 Nov. 2021 While a violent affliction spreads among guards and residents of a Japanese internment camp in Idaho, Meiko can’t help noticing that, though doctors arrive, nothing improves. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 One last affliction that our work and play with computers can cause is computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain. Simon Hill, Wired, 2 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About affliction

Time Traveler for affliction

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near affliction




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for affliction

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Affliction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for affliction


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on affliction

Nglish: Translation of affliction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of affliction for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!