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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Sampling difficulties for Brazilian polls Polls in Brazil suffer from problems that also afflict other countries, but these problems can be accentuated because of limitations with Brazilian polls. Ryan Lloyd, Vox, "Pollin’ ain’t easy: why did Brazilian pollsters go so badly astray in 2018?," 26 Oct. 2018 Holm himself is afflicted by a personal torment tied to the reason he’s been taken off patrol duty, which is gradually revealed. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘The Guilty’: Abduction drama focuses on one cop — and one riveting performance," 16 Oct. 2018 But his administration has fallen victim to a problem that afflicted the Obama administration before it — slow first quarters that helped keep annual economic growth below 3%. Jim Puzzanghera, latimes.com, "U.S. economic growth slows despite Trump's tax cuts," 27 Apr. 2018 During her two-hour visit, Trump was given a presentation about neonatal abstinence syndrome, the collection of health problems that often afflict babies born dependent on or addicted to opioids or heroin. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "See what Melania Trump was wearing when she visited Cincinnati," 6 Feb. 2018 Mixed reviews, for instance, have afflicted the outlook this year for Electronic Arts EA 1.51% and Activision Blizzard , ATVI -1.83% the two largest publishers. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "‘Fortnite’ Effect: The Game Never Ends," 15 Feb. 2019 Google was briefly afflicted in 2015 when an Indian provider stumbled. Frank Bajak, The Seattle Times, "Nigerian ISP’s configuration error disrupted Google services," 14 Nov. 2018 Like the author, too, he is afflicted with a permanent sense of semi-exile. New York Times, "Struggling to Love, Work and Do the Right Thing in Putin’s Russia," 9 July 2018 In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Hamilton County sixth of all U.S. counties most afflicted by syphilis. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Syphilis in Cincinnati: Infections rising again as Hamilton County warns on social media," 16 Jan. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about afflict

Statistics for afflict

Last Updated

24 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for afflict

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on afflict

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

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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