suf·​fer·​ing | \ ˈsə-f(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce suffering (audio) \

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

Directed by: Paul Haggis and Dan Krauss Rated: PG-13 for graphic images of surgery and human suffering, and some strong language. Pat Padua, Twin Cities, "Documentary ‘5B’ tells moving story of first hospital ward exclusively for AIDS patients," 14 June 2019 These formally striking passages feel intentionally divorced from any understanding of the human body as a site of suffering. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "In Mark Haddon’s “The Porpoise,” Storytelling Is an Instrument of Violence and Solace," 13 June 2019 Both had irrefutable signs of suffering: The emaciated elephant had a bent, swollen leg hanging in the air and a large, bleeding sore at his temple. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism," 12 June 2019 Becky’s suffering was undeniable, as were the facts that Philip had reluctantly carried out her wishes and had intended to end his own life as well. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 And while the cause of trichotillomania is unclear, factors like family history, stress, and anxiety may contribute to one's chances of suffering from it. Temi Adebowale, Harper's BAZAAR, "Model Sara Sampaio Reveals She Suffers From Trichotillomania," 30 July 2018 Last week, the jury awarded the woman, Donna Olson, $20 million for pain and suffering and $5 million to her husband, bringing the total... Peter Loftus, WSJ, "Johnson & Johnson Hit With $300 Million in Punitive Damages in Talc Case," 31 May 2019 Daenerys attempts to use magic to heal Drogo, but ends up leaving him in a vegetative state and forces herself to smother him with a pillow to end his suffering. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "This New 'Game of Thrones' Theory Reveals Secret Foreshadowing Within the Dragons' Names," 16 May 2019 In short, the platform’s lifeblood is suffering, and YouTube’s response to the crisis has been terrible. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "YouTube is failing its creators," 21 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

24 Jun 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
: 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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