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 Indeed, Rudolf Blaschka’s glass models of decaying fruits are beautiful harbingers of affliction. Myles Karp, National Geographic, "Rotting-fruit art points up plants in peril," 27 Dec. 2019 For the most challenging cases of triple affliction—homelessness, addiction and mental illness—more exhaustive interventions are needed. The Economist, "Urban myths Homelessness is declining in America," 17 Oct. 2019 Ethicists warn that graphic images of affliction reinforce inequalities between privileged donors and relief recipients, leaving in place the structural disparities that cause and perpetuate global suffering. Heather D. Curtis, The Conversation, "How American Christian media promoted charity abroad," 3 Sep. 2019 Then comes the loss of Marian Hossa to a skin affliction. Steve Rosenbloom,, "Welcome to the start of Blackhawks' firing speculation season," 21 Mar. 2018 Another terrible affliction, this one affecting infants, is spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA. Scientific American, "The Power of Spheres," 25 Dec. 2019 Similarly, Knives Out’s Marta suffers from a bizarre affliction, the inability to lie without vomiting, which ultimately plays a key role in the whodunnit plot. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "It had to be spew: A tribute to the anxious stomachs of 2019," 24 Dec. 2019 Female affliction is inevitably tangled up with politics. New York Times, "Cult of the Literary Sad Woman," 12 Nov. 2019 Vacansopapurosophobia, or the terror of staring at the blank page, is an exotic name for a common affliction. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "A new sketching platform is designed to help adults get over the fear of drawing," 23 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for affliction

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for affliction

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Affliction.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for affliction


How to pronounce affliction (audio)

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).


to express in a more acceptable way

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