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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Edwards was arrested on charges of torture inflicting pain and serious injury resulting in death of an animal and child abuse without causing great bodily harm, battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Nicole Acevedo, NBC News, "A man in Florida allegedly killed a veteran's dog for barking too much," 1 Feb. 2020 Edwards was arrested on charges of torture inflicting pain and serious injury resulting in death of an animal; child abuse without great bodily harm; battery by touching or striking; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Washington Post, "A man hanged a veteran’s support dog for barking, Florida police say," 31 Jan. 2020 There will always be bad people in the world who wish to inflict pain on others. Emily Wagster Pettus,, "Mississippi governor: Prison violence was a ‘catastrophe’," 16 Jan. 2020 Historically, Washington has been able to inflict greater pain, but Tehran has shown a greater capacity to absorb it. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump’s Iran Problem," 12 Jan. 2020 America’s trade war is intended to inflict pain on China. The Economist, "Global tradeIt has become harder for the Asian tigers to prosper through exports," 5 Dec. 2019 Forever 21 was one of the main brands to inflict pain on the flagship brands of apparel behemoths like Gap Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch.. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "How Forever 21 Lost Its Way and Ended Up Filing for Bankruptcy," 30 Sep. 2019 With Luis Suarez out and Lionel Messi still struggling with a thigh strain, Valencia may be well be looking to inflict more pain on their illustrious rivals on Saturday., "This Weekend's 7 Must-Watch Games as Club Football Finally Returns," 12 Sep. 2019 Joshua Ray Schlotmann, 28, of Lehigh Acres was arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty, inflict pain, torture, serious injury or death to an animal, LCSO said. Joe Mario Pedersen,, "Florida dog owner arrested for punching, tackling dog ‘Thanos’," 9 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inflict

Time Traveler for inflict

Time Traveler

The first known use of inflict was in 1566

See more words from the same year

Statistics for inflict

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inflict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inflict


How to pronounce inflict (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on inflict

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!