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

But in the eyes of many Chinese consumers, Dolce & Gabbana’s video spots crossed the line into outright offensiveness, threatening to inflict long-term damage on the brand. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Chinese Online Retailers Stop Selling Dolce & Gabbana After Racism Uproar," 23 Nov. 2018 Either way, this latest outbreak underscores the destruction WannaCry continues to inflict on critical operations worldwide. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Key iPhone supplier is hamstrung with the debilitating WannaCry worm," 6 Aug. 2018 In the debut for both sides, Clutch dominated, with the Guardians struggling to inflict any damage on their superior opponents. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Why competitive gaming is starting to look a lot like professional sports," 27 July 2018 In the end, the only person Camille can save is herself, which is fitting after all the self-harm she’s inflicted. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Sharp Objects Finale Delivers a Shocking Twist Ending," 27 Aug. 2018 Police arrived at the scene and determined that Matthew Edwards’ gunshot wound was self-inflicted. Steve Helling,, "Little Boy Arrives at Sleepover to Find Family Shot to Death in Murder-Suicide," 11 July 2018 Aster makes great use of the Kubrickian dead-eyed stare that the characters of 2001: A Space Odyssey inflict upon the camera, just as the protagonists of The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and A Clockwork Orange. Jacob Oller, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Hereditary' Flips Steven Spielberg's Trademark Shot," 10 June 2018 In its first 14 months, the Trump administration has earned a reputation for being soft on the Kremlin, even as the extent of the chaos Russia's hackers and trolls have inflicted online becomes increasingly clear. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "New White House Sanctions Finally Take Russia's Online Chaos Seriously," 15 Mar. 2018 The dress rehearsal for big shutdowns will start next April, when the Canarsie Tube will be closed for fifteen months, as the M.T.A. finishes repairing the damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 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

4 Dec 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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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).


to enclose within walls

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