in·​flict | \ in-ˈflikt How to pronounce inflict (audio) \
inflicted; inflicting; inflicts

Definition of inflict

transitive verb

1a : 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
2 : afflict

Other Words from inflict

inflicter or inflictor \ in-​ˈflik-​tər How to pronounce inflict (audio) \ noun
inflictive \ in-​ˈflik-​tiv How to pronounce inflict (audio) \ adjective

Examples of inflict in a Sentence

These insects are capable of inflicting a painful sting.
Recent Examples on the Web The powerful assault weapon can inflict heavy damage. New York Times, 15 May 2022 Beijing is now seeking a compromise from stubborn China hawks in the U.S. who have little political incentive to give in—despite the damage delistings could inflict on American investors and institutions. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 16 Apr. 2022 Instead of depicting what was most likely a slow, painful collapse into starvation and scurvy, the show’s creators inflict a supernatural doom on Franklin and his men. Eva Holland, Outside Online, 30 Mar. 2022 Such storms can inflict heavy disruptions to oil and natural gas production as well as crops, which could pinch sectors already stretched by the war in Ukraine. Brian K Sullivan,, 30 Mar. 2022 Ekwonu, a former high school wrestler, ranked fourth at the combines and is known for using his size to inflict aggressive strikes. Remy Tumin, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a bitter reminder that there is no end to the horrific suffering that humans are sometimes willing to inflict on others. Arash Javanbakht, The Conversation, 28 Apr. 2022 The partisans were keen not to inflict casualties, Ravavoi said. Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2022 The goal is to block Russian advances and inflict such losses that Mr. Putin is forced to reconsider his war aims again. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of inflict

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for inflict

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

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Time Traveler for inflict

Time Traveler

The first known use of inflict was in 1566

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inflict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for inflict


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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