torment

noun
tor·​ment | \ ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \

Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or anguish of body or mind : agony She wrung her hands piteously together, looking like a soul in torment.— Lucy Maud Montgomery
2 : a source of vexation or pain Love is a delight; but hate a torment.— Herman Melville … the twin torments of his probable manic depression and chronic stomach pains.— Neal Karlen
3 : the infliction of torture (as by rack or wheel)

torment

verb
tor·​ment | \ tȯr-ˈment How to pronounce torment (audio) , ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \
tormented; tormenting; torments

Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause severe usually persistent or recurrent distress of body or mind to cattle tormented by flies tormented by doubt She liked me, but she laughed at me, and tormented me …— Charles Dickens
2 : distort, twist

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Other Words from torment

Verb

tormented adjective
… Emily—who is easily one of the most tormented characters of the show … — Rowan Born The Witch makes the mundane sinister, from the tormented shapes of the corn husks in the field to the weird glow of pewter by candlelight. — Katy Waldman

Synonyms & Antonyms for torment

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Verb

afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

Examples of torment in a Sentence

Noun No one could understand his inner torment. After years of torment, she left her husband. The mosquitoes were a constant torment. Verb Not knowing where she was tormented him. he was tormented by nightmares about the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The trailer for this first season, which is subtitled Covenant, features historical elements of torment for Blacks in America such as burning crosses and even a character from a minstrel show. Mia Uzzell, Essence, "Exclusive Look At Amazon’s Latest Thriller ‘Them’," 16 Mar. 2021 My chats were to provide them with distractions, anecdotes and gossip—anything that could alleviate their torment from isolation. WSJ, "Finding Inspiration Amid a Pandemic," 9 Mar. 2021 Kedon Slovis is back to torment UCLA, along with three of the four Trojans receivers who formed a 4x100 team by all going over 100 yards last year in a rivalry romp. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Quentin Lake returns to help UCLA’s conquest bid in rivalry game," 7 Dec. 2020 The American people have been through a year of unmitigated torment. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | OTHERS SAY: Numbers good, but be careful," 24 Feb. 2021 Yet, like few music legends before or since, Holiday channeled the pain and torment of her life into exquisitely moving music that has repeatedly transcended her time and place. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Golden Globe-nominee Andra Day on her star turn as Billie Holiday in new Lee Daniels film: ‘I was terrified!’," 21 Feb. 2021 The protagonist's secret life and inner torment are laid bare either in the gothic, grunge sounds or in the disturbing lyrics about male violence. Cristina Jaleru, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Promising Young Woman' sdtk takes you on dark ride," 4 Dec. 2020 As Heathcliff, Laurence Olivier is mesmerizing, his torment and class resentment palpable throughout. BostonGlobe.com, "Celebrate romance with these movies," 4 Feb. 2021 The game in six words: Myles of torment for Dwayne Haskins. Joe Noga, cleveland, "Here’s how the Cleveland Browns reached the 2021 NFL Playoffs: Their journey week by week," 6 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead, Alexei Navalny continues to torment the Russian president, exposing the cruelty and lies of his regime. The Economist, "Does the Kremlin want Alexei Navalny to die in prison?," 10 Apr. 2021 What are the financial issues that external stock analysts are using to torment your CFO during quarterly earnings calls? Mark Settle, Forbes, "Attention All CIOs: The 2022 Budgeting Season Is Already Underway," 6 Apr. 2021 Cryptic notes and encounters with a mysterious stranger torment a drill-press operator who has not slept in a year. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021 The memory continues to torment Roger, a trucking firm accounts receivable clerk who glimpsed the speeding car bearing down on them. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Suspected drunk driver careens into SUV carrying family of six," 26 Mar. 2021 After some line shuffling, Duclair skated with Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, who already had done enough to torment the Hawks during two games in January. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "5 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers, including Anthony Duclair’s untimely comeback and the Dominik Kubalik-Brandon Hagel combination," 14 Mar. 2021 On the other side of the door, my two small children, in the care of their after-school babysitter, chase and torment each other, squeals piercing the air, rendering my sound machine useless. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The Year of ‘Invisible Crisis’: Three Women on Losing—Or Leaving—Their Jobs During the Pandemic," 4 Mar. 2021 Cryptic notes and encounters with a mysterious stranger torment a drill-press operator who has not slept in a year. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘Gandhi’; ‘Forrest Gump’ and more," 26 Feb. 2021 Raped and forced into prostitution at a young age, Holiday turned to drugs as a way to kill the pain and developed an almost masochistic talent for coupling with men who would torment her. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Andra Day burns hot and cool as jazz great in ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’," 25 Feb. 2021

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for torment

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French turment, torment, from Latin tormentum torture; akin to torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Time Traveler for torment

Time Traveler

The first known use of torment was in the 13th century

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Statistics for torment

Last Updated

24 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Torment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torment. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for torment

torment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: extreme physical or mental pain
: something that causes extreme physical or mental pain

torment

verb

English Language Learners Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone or something) to feel extreme physical or mental pain

torment

verb
tor·​ment | \ tȯr-ˈment How to pronounce torment (audio) \
tormented; tormenting

Kids Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause severe suffering of body or mind to Flies tormented the cattle.
2 : vex sense 1, harass All last year we tormented Webb. Mostly little stuff, like messing with his locker …— Jerry Spinelli, Crash

torment

noun
tor·​ment | \ ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \

Kids Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or distress of body or mind
2 : a cause of suffering in mind or body The waiting was torment.

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Comments on torment

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