in·​flict | \ in-ˈflikt How to pronounce inflict (audio) \
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 How to pronounce inflictor (audio) \ noun
inflictive \ in-​ˈflik-​tiv How to pronounce inflictive (audio) \ adjective

Examples of inflict in a Sentence

These insects are capable of inflicting a painful sting.

Recent Examples on the Web

These apex predators are capable of inflicting great bodily harm to their prey, and they have been known to kill humans from time to time. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "How to stay safe around wild animals," 20 May 2019 Insatiable tells the story of 17-year-old Patty (Debby Ryan, wearing a very fake-looking fat suit for the first few minutes of the pilot), whose classmates have inflicted upon her the nickname Fatty Patty. Constance Grady, Vox, "Netflix’s Insatiable is somehow both obscenely cruel and terminally dull," 9 Aug. 2018 The majority holds otherwise by ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens. Anne Branigin, The Root, "Sonia Sotomayor Reads the Supreme Court's Travel Ban Decision for Filth," 26 June 2018 Instead of renegade robots preying on humans, the show zeroed in on the nascent humanity of these artificial constructs, contrasted with the brutality inflicted upon them by people indulging their darkest impulses and fantasies. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Westworld' remains easy to admire, harder to like in new season," 19 Apr. 2018 In impact play, this is the person inflicting the spanks or other forms of play. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "A Beginner’s Guide to Impact Play," 1 May 2019 These initial tariffs are unlikely to inflict serious harm to the world's two biggest economies. Author: Paul Wiseman, Josh Boakap, Anchorage Daily News, "US-China trade war elevates the risks to the global economy," 7 July 2018 But maybe that would be an acceptable trade-off, given the damage such viral misinformation can inflict. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: It only takes a few seconds for bots to spread misinformation," 21 Nov. 2018 Lopez was arrested March 10 on a felony charge of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and released on $10,000 bail, according to records from the Lake County Sheriff’s office and the Lake County Superior Court. Jocelyn Gecker, The Seattle Times, "Northern California man shoots, kills 3 kids and himself," 13 Aug. 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

19 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce inflict (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on inflict

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inflict

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inflict

Spanish Central: Translation of inflict

Nglish: Translation of inflict for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inflict for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inflict

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