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

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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 the final stretch of a six-day, 2,800-mile, cross-country trek home earlier this week, almost every detour and misadventure Troy Niklas and his driving companion had encountered had been at least partly self-inflicted. Eric Hansen, The Indianapolis Star, "Inside Troy Niklas' journey to finish strong at Notre Dame," 15 May 2020 Portland police at first asked the public’s help for information about the stabbing, but on Saturday released that the wounds were self-inflicted. oregonlive, "Man found stabbed in St. Johns died of self-inflicted wounds," 10 May 2020 Winging it—and risking your ACL or worse—is foolish when the healthcare system is full of folks whose ailments weren’t self-inflicted. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "The New Rules of Hiking During Quarantine," 20 Apr. 2020 Preliminary information indicates the deaths occurred under suspicious circumstances, and none of their injuries appeared to be self-inflicted, said Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Police investigating deaths of husband and wife attorneys found in their Illinois home," 15 Apr. 2020 Both adults said any injuries to her groin area were self-inflicted, according to the affidavit. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Court documents: 8-year-old Cumberland girl was beaten with jumper cables before she died," 15 Apr. 2020 Some, like his carousing, womanizing, and a mid-season holdout, were self-inflicted. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "War, Fever, and Baseball in 1918," 29 Mar. 2020 National Weather Service survey teams indicated that the damage in Nashville and Wilson County to the east was inflicted by a tornado of at least EF3 intensity, with wind speeds up to 165 mph, the agency said. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "'Pretty much like an explosion': Day after brutal Nashville tornadoes that killed 25 people, 17 still missing," 4 Mar. 2020 National Weather Service survey teams indicated that the damage in Nashville and Wilson County to the east was inflicted by a tornado of at least EF-3 intensity, with wind speeds up to 165 mph (266 kmh), the agency said. Teresa M. Walker, Anchorage Daily News, "Cellphone alerts helped Tennessee couple get into basement before tornado destroyed their home," 4 Mar. 2020

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 2

History and Etymology for inflict

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

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Time Traveler for inflict

Time Traveler

The first known use of inflict was in 1566

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Statistics for inflict

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inflict.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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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

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