in·flict | \ in-ˈflikt \
inflicted; inflicting; inflicts

Definition of inflict 

transitive verb

1 : afflict

2a : to give by or as if by striking inflict a painful sting inflict damage

b : to cause (something unpleasant) to be endured inflict my annual message upon the church itself if it might derive benefit thereby. —Mark Twain

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Other words from inflict

inflicter or inflictor \in-ˈflik-tər \ noun
inflictive \in-ˈflik-tiv \ adjective

Examples of inflict in a Sentence

These insects are capable of inflicting a painful sting.

Recent Examples on the Web

The thinking goes like this: Better to inflict some pain now, in the form of higher joblessness and sluggish wage growth than to allow more pain later. Patricia Cohen,, "Paychecks lag as profits soar, and prices erode wage gains," 14 July 2018 The thinking goes like this: Better to inflict some pain now, in the form of higher joblessness and sluggish wage growth, than to allow more pain later. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "Paychecks Lag as Profits Soar, and Prices Erode Wage Gains," 13 July 2018 The Chinese designed their tariffs to inflict political pain in the United States. Washington Post, "Stuck in trade war, US and China face uncertain path to deal," 10 July 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Beijing has other ways to inflict pain. San Antonio Express-News, "China’s options to hit US go beyond imports," 9 July 2018 But unlike his opponents, who wish to inflict pain, his sins are essentially victimless—especially since this tournament has introduced Video Assistant Referees, with his antics constantly being reviewed by replay. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Annoying Genius Who Makes the World Cup Worth Watching," 5 July 2018 On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. Joey Morona,, "Movie Minute: 'Avengers: Infinity War' eyes record opening weekend," 26 Apr. 2018 Each rape is a work of performance art, with costumes and props (including, in one unforgettable case, a dead cat) leaving the victims forever reliving the horrors inflicted on them and helpless to understand. Lisa Miller, The Cut, "The Weaponized Amber Tamblyn," 8 July 2018 But now many of the same students are calling for Ortega to step down, angry at the violence inflicted on protesters by police and bands of Sandinista Youth that attack demonstrations in an effort to intimidate and break them up. Washington Post, "AP PHOTOS: University becomes refuge in Nicaragua unrest," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inflict.' 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 inflict

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inflict

Latin inflictus, past participle of infligere, from in- + fligere to strike — more at profligate

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Statistics for inflict

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inflict

The first known use of inflict was in 1566

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More Definitions for inflict



English Language Learners Definition of inflict

: to cause someone to experience or be affected by (something unpleasant or harmful)


in·flict | \ in-ˈflikt \
inflicted; inflicting

Kids Definition of inflict

1 : to give by or as if by striking inflict a wound

2 : to cause to be put up with … you endure the boredom that doctors and dentists inflict on their patients before bringing them in … —Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator

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Comments on inflict

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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