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 But this week, senators known for their excruciating ability to fill dead air with the sound of their own voices will once again be required to sit and listen to an artificial discussion on artificial intelligence. Matt Laslo, WIRED, 13 Sep. 2023 But the end result, also serving as Pine’s directorial debut, goes tonally off the rails from the start and proceeds to hit bottom with excruciating momentum, dragging a game ensemble, including Annette Bening, Danny DeVito and Jennifer Jason Leigh, down for the count. Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Sep. 2023 And the clinic is only a container: a space in which to talk about and bear witness to suffering, physical or not, and to reckon with the excruciating human contradiction of our longing for meaning and our fear of it. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 12 Sep. 2023 Joe had been admitted to Saint Vincent last year after two days in the emergency room in excruciating pain because of a spinal cord compression. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Sep. 2023 The excruciating heat and severe weather continues here in Washington, and more than 75 million Americans are under a hot weather watch today. CBS News, 23 July 2023 Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage that can cause tingling, numbness, and excruciating pain in your extremities. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 15 Aug. 2023 For more than a year, life for many sriracha lovers has been an excruciating lesson in bland. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 15 Aug. 2023 The trip through Alaska fills a disproportionate section of this book, as Jokinen recounts the rain, snow, winds, ice, mud, gravel, excruciating climbs, clogged water filters, frozen extremities, mechanical malfunctions, and other obstacles on their long journey to Fairbanks. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Aug. 2023 See More

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 22 Sep. 2023.

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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