self-tor·​ture | \ ˌself-ˈtȯr-chər How to pronounce self-torture (audio) \
plural self-tortures

Definition of self-torture

1 : the act or an instance of torturing oneself psychologically Guilt is a merciless instrument of self-torture.— S. G. Browne Because golf exposes the flaws of the human swing—a basically simple maneuver—it causes more self-torture than any game short of Russian roulette.— Grantland Rice
2 : the infliction of intense pain on oneself The Native North Americans also used physical suffering, a literal self-torture—for example, piercing the chest with sticks and thongs …— Leslie Gray

First Known Use of self-torture

1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of self-torture was in 1623

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Cite this Entry

“Self-torture.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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