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

Simultaneously, many peer-to-peer lending platforms have collapsed as a result of Mr. Xi’s battle against risk, inflicting widespread capital losses. Diana Choyleva, WSJ, "Why China’s New Year Wasn’t Very Festive," 13 Feb. 2019 Kang’s time at the training camp allowed her to begin to heal from the damage her involvement with the modeling industry had inflicted on her mental and physical health over the years. Leta Shy, SELF, "Model Mia Kang on How Becoming a Muay Thai Fighter Saved Her Life," 30 Dec. 2018 Fed up with the archaic beauty standards these pageants inflict on her town, Willowdean, whom her mom sweetly calls Dumplin', decides to enter the next competition and set the haters straight. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Trailer For Jennifer Aniston’s New Netflix Movie Is Here, and It Has a Body-Positive Message," 14 Nov. 2018 Jones and Stewart also received firearm charges, while Stewart was charged with inflicting bodily harm on Capone. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Three Charged in Kidnapping of 'Halloween: Resurrection' Actress," 4 July 2018 Little benefit would result from this, thus condemning low-income Americans to the fuel poverty that green policies have inflicted on so many Germans. Robert Ham, WSJ, "Carbon Tax: An Optimal Solution or Folly?," 13 Jan. 2019 No doubt that most of the Seahawks’ penalties were self-inflicted Sunday. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Pete Carroll has good news on K.J. Wright, but the outlook isn’t as rosy for Jordan Simmons," 17 Dec. 2018 This year, the company is tackling repeated damage that is inflicted on a display. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Gorilla Glass 6 tackles the problem of cumulative smartphone damage," 19 July 2018 But how about addressing the point of the comparison about cruelty being inflicted on children as state policy? David Zurawik,, "Trump border policy so debased even right-wing media can't defend it credibly," 19 June 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

27 Feb 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

Spanish Central: Translation of inflict

Nglish: Translation of inflict for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inflict for Arabic Speakers

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).


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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