suf·​fer·​ing | \ ˈsə-f(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of suffering 

1 : the state or experience of one that suffers
2 : pain

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Choose the Right Synonym for suffering

distress, suffering, misery, agony mean the state of being in great trouble. distress implies an external and usually temporary cause of great physical or mental strain and stress. the hurricane put everyone in great distress suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress. the suffering of famine victims misery stresses the unhappiness attending especially sickness, poverty, or loss. the homeless live with misery every day agony suggests pain too intense to be borne. in agony over the death of their child

Examples of suffering in a Sentence

ways to alleviate human suffering They hope these new drugs will help to bring an end to the suffering of arthritis patients. His lawsuit seeks damages for pain and suffering. the sufferings of the dying
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Recent Examples on the Web

Our avoidance instinct is also due to the fact that our culture has decided that suffering has no value. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Casey Newton and Louie Swisher on the 300th episode of Recode Decode," 2 Dec. 2018 There are many myths that surround this illness that further contribute to suffering — myths that often keep those who identify with this disorder from seeking treatment. Molly Burford, Allure, "9 Things You Should Know About Borderline Personality Disorder, From Someone Who Has It," 8 Oct. 2018 Over the course of the morning, his suffering blossoms like a rapidly decaying wound. Michael Heaton,, "'Foxtrot' is a powerful anti-war film from Israel (review)," 27 Apr. 2018 The suffering of Sudanese women is happening all the time. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "Lawyer for Sudanese teen who killed her rapist facing intimidation," 16 May 2018 Although the backdrop is one of vivid wealth and socially sanctioned hedonism, Patrick's suffering is, at its core, the same as anyone else's. Hank Stuever,, "'Patrick Melrose' is the Cumberbatch-iest show ever made - and that's a good thing," 10 May 2018 What’s more, Love is an athlete—and anyone who has donned a jersey can confirm that suffering without complaint is among the primary virtues promoted in sports (think: No pain, no gain). Ryan Howes, SELF, "Why It's a Huge Deal When Male Athletes Like Kevin Love Talk About Therapy," 27 Mar. 2018 But trauma tends to have a steamrolling effect, flattening textured, setting-specific stories into monotonous landscapes of suffering. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The Search for Self in an Ideological Age," 3 Aug. 2018 My father knew pain and suffering with an intimacy and immediacy most of us are blessed never to have endured. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Meghan McCain's Eulogy for Her Father John McCain," 1 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'suffering.' 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 suffering

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for suffering

Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for suffering

The first known use of suffering was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of suffering

: pain that is caused by injury, illness, loss, etc. : physical, mental, or emotional pain

sufferings : feelings of pain


suf·​fer·​ing | \ ˈsə-fə-riŋ, ˈsə-friŋ\

Kids Definition of suffering

: pain experienced during an injury or loss

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More from Merriam-Webster on suffering

Spanish Central: Translation of suffering

Nglish: Translation of suffering for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suffering for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about suffering

Comments on suffering

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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