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

Definition of inflict

transitive verb

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 In 1940, during the World War II Battle of Britain, the tide turned as the Royal Air Force inflicted heavy losses upon the Luftwaffe., "In 1776, British forces occupied New York City during the American Revolution.," 15 Sep. 2019 The two-time NFL defensive player of the year hit the right hand of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the first quarter, inflicting a thumb injury that knocked the future Hall of Famer out of Sunday’s game at the Coliseum. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, "Rams make quick work of Saints after Drew Brees exits with injury," 15 Sep. 2019 These three claims generally refer to a depiction of Brown as willfully committing harmful physical contact on Taylor and knowingly behaving in such an extreme and outrageous manner so as to inflict severe mental distress on Taylor. Michael Mccann,, "Inside the Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Antonio Brown for Rape and Sexual Assault," 11 Sep. 2019 Dorian has been moving at only 1 mph and has been sitting right on top of Grand Bahama for hours, which likely will inflict catastrophic damage across the island. Leigh Morgan, al, "Hurricane Dorian 2019 path update: Florida waits for turn north as Category 4 storm batters Bahamas," 2 Sep. 2019 The level of violence these far-right groups inflict has been persistent over time, but studies show that the media gave terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslims 350% more coverage than violence committed by other terrorists. Joe Sexton, ProPublica, "He Spent Years Infiltrating White Supremacist Groups. Here’s What He Has to Say About What’s Going on Now.," 30 Aug. 2019 Abu Wael Issam, an official with the Palestinian group in Lebanon, told The Associated Press that the strike was carried out by Israeli drones and did not inflict any casualties. Fox News, "Israeli drones strike Palestinian base operated by Hezbollah ally," 26 Aug. 2019 As part of their case, Orange County prosecutors alleged that Nayeri inflicted great bodily injury on the victim, but jurors didn’t find the enhancement to be true. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California man convicted of torture of pot dispensary owner," 16 Aug. 2019 In essence, Anton would (and Trump does) voluntarily inflict the same harms on the United States that warring nations impose on their enemies with embargoes and blockades. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "What Was Free about Our Trade Relationship with China before Trump?," 30 Aug. 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.

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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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for inflict

The first known use of inflict was in 1566

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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

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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

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concealed or difficult to comprehend

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