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 The damage inflicted on our educational institutions by the onrushing tsunami of wokeness is starting to worry even a few prominent progressives. Frederick M. Hess, National Review, "The Silence of the School Reformers," 25 Nov. 2019 Thirty kilowatts is sufficient to inflict structural damage against drones, causing them to fall out of the sky. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Air Force Downs Several Drones With New ATHENA Laser Weapon System," 8 Nov. 2019 Wrapping up its annual mission to Greece on September 26th, the IMF blessed lower fiscal targets, pointing to the damage austerity had inflicted on public investment and social spending. The Economist, "Can Kyriakos Mitsotakis ensure the Greek economy starts growing again?," 3 Oct. 2019 The findings of the NSO suggest these wounds may have been self-inflicted. Pramod Mathew, Quartz India, "After years of falling, poverty in India may have risen again since GST and demonetisation," 15 Nov. 2019 Corporate titans exerted great power at a distance and could inflict harm. David Mislin, The Conversation, "How Pete Buttigieg is reviving the pragmatic, progressive ideals of the Social Gospel movement," 7 Nov. 2019 Jason Adams, 45, is charged with one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and inflicting injury on an elder adult, court records show. Lilly Nguyen, Daily Pilot, "Man pleads not guilty to assaulting elderly man with a chair in Laguna Beach," 10 Oct. 2019 And Mexican authorities are particularly savvy in targeting products to inflict political pain. Ana Campoy, Quartz, "Trump’s 5% tariff on Mexico would cost at least 400,000 US jobs," 5 June 2019 The summer travel season is poised to inflict pain on both U.S. airlines and fliers. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "Flying This Summer? Expect Delays," 24 May 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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Time Traveler for inflict

Time Traveler

The first known use of inflict was in 1566

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Statistics for inflict

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Inflict.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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