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

transitive verb

: to give by or as if by striking
inflict a painful sting
inflict damage
: to cause (something unpleasant) to be endured
inflict my annual message upon the church itself if it might derive benefit thereby.Mark Twain
inflicter noun
or inflictor
inflictive adjective

Examples of inflict in a Sentence

These insects are capable of inflicting a painful sting.
Recent Examples on the Web Hernandez was backed by stellar defense from third baseman Brady Ebel and first baseman David Rivera to turn back the Lancers, who own one of the two losses inflicted on the Panthers. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2024 In their plea agreements, Franke and Hildebrandt admitted to inflicting or allowing another adult to inflict serious physical injuries upon Franke's children between May 2023 and August 2023. Nadine El-Bawab, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2024 With brute-force jamming, even if defenders are willing to accept high rates of damage inflicted on their own offensive drones, these previous EW systems are just not up to the task. IEEE Spectrum, 10 Apr. 2024 Israel still faces international repercussions from the strike, which inflicted serious damage on Iran’s Quds Force, the external military and intelligence service of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Adam Rasgon, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 In fact, while Angus sought funding for their project, Caceres was targeting another foreign adversary to show the full extent of the cyber mayhem a small team could inflict. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, 4 Apr. 2024 Just last week, an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt among Taliban militia in the Afghan city of Kandahar, inflicting dozens of casualties, according to local accounts. Tim Lister, CNN, 31 Mar. 2024 Ukrainian artillery is pretty quiet right now as Ukraine gradually recovers from a long period of ammunition-starvation mostly inflicted by the Russia-friendly wing of the U.S. Republican Party. David Axe, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 But in the future, Jews might even remember him as the leader who inflicted the most harm on his people since the squabbling Hasmonean kings brought civil war and Roman occupation to Judea nearly 21 centuries ago. Anshel Pfeffer, The Atlantic, 27 Mar. 2024

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of inflict was in 1566

Dictionary Entries Near inflict

Cite this Entry

“Inflict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​flict in-ˈflikt How to pronounce inflict (audio)
: to give by or as if by striking
inflict a wound
: to cause (something damaging or painful) to be endured
inflict punishment
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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