ex·​cru·​ci·​at·​ing ik-ˈskrü-shē-ˌā-tiŋ How to pronounce excruciating (audio)
: causing great pain or anguish : agonizing
the nation's most excruciating dilemmaW. H. Ferry
: very intense : extreme
excruciating pain
excruciatingly adverb

Examples of excruciating in a Sentence

I have an excruciating headache. an excruciating moment of embarrassment They described their vacation in excruciating detail.
Recent Examples on the Web Then, last week, came the excruciating debacle of Biden’s infirm, confused, and incoherent debate performance against Donald Trump. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 5 July 2024 Instead, what we’re served feels more like dirty limericks delivered at an excruciating pace by a bore with bad breath. Amy Nicholson, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2024 The atmosphere is of gloomy foreboding, as the family shuffles through the excruciating formalities and rituals involved in the birth of a new Groan heir, all under the ambitious gaze of the servant Steerpike. Marianne Gordon, Peoplemag, 19 June 2024 The 2022 Finals were even more excruciating for the Celtics, who took a 2-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors before TD Garden devolved into a house of horrors. Ben Golliver, Washington Post, 17 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for excruciating 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'excruciating.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of excruciating was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near excruciating

Cite this Entry

“Excruciating.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excruciating. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: causing great mental or physical pain : agonizing
excruciating torture
an excruciating decision to leave
: very severe
excruciating pain

derived from Latin excruciatus, past participle of excruciare "to torture," from ex- "out of, from" and cruciare "to torment, crucify," from cruc-, crux "cross" — related to cross, crucial, crucify

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