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self-tor·​ment·​ing ˌself-tȯr-ˈmen-tiŋ How to pronounce self-tormenting (audio)
: tormenting oneself especially psychologically
a self-tormenting perfectionist
: marked by self-torment
self-tormenting thoughts


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plural self-tormentings
: self-torment
She had, therefore, abundant leisure for reflection, and even for self-tormentingSir Walter Scott
… golf is a form of self-tormenting. It causes extraordinary amounts of self-inflicted pain …Andrew Greig
But Dante transcends these self-tormentings and rises to a higher stage of spiritual illumination …Stephen Gurney

Word History

First Known Use


1596, in the meaning defined above


1628, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-tormenting was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near self-tormenting

Cite this Entry

“Self-tormenting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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