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

Word History

First Known Use

1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-torture was in 1623

Dictionary Entries Near self-torture

Cite this Entry

“Self-torture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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