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

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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

Choose the Right Synonym for torment

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 Turkish prosecutor’s statement named 18 men who were indicted on a charge of murder with monstrous intent and inflicting grave torment. Carlotta Gall, BostonGlobe.com, "Turkey indicts 20 Saudis in Khashoggi’s killing," 25 Mar. 2020 But as Majerle watched the documentary on Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty, the former Traverse City Central and Central Michigan star realized Jordan’s torment had everything to do with Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Blame Jerry Krause for Michael Jordan schooling Dan Majerle in 1993 NBA Finals," 10 May 2020 Its promise was to act as the bridge across the great divide of US society, being mainstream enough to connect to the white majority but with a sufficient memory of past torment to connect also to the black minority. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "The Designated Mourner," 7 Jan. 2020 But Francesca is spared from her torment enough to tell her story in a sad clarinet solo, spun out with breathtaking subtlety by Gregory Raden. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Guest conductor Jader Bignamini pumps up the Dallas Symphony with lots of decibels," 17 Jan. 2020 Our anti-hero is almost ready to set off for his next bounty in another corner of the galaxy, but his growing torment over leaving baby Yoda gets the best of him. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'The Mandalorian' Professes Its Love for Baby Yoda," 22 Nov. 2019 Bruce Miller has tried to make the horrors of that world extra clear through a pretty unending string of physical torments in the second season. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner's Handmaid's Tale Party Sends a Terrifying Message," 12 June 2019 Was Satan launching weekly torments on New Yorkers? Darren Franich, EW.com, "Evil, the best show on network TV, wraps season 1 with a bleak twist: Finale review," 31 Jan. 2020 The Pennsylvania cop's torment was a constant reminder of the bullet that became lodged in his spine during a 1981 gun battle with a bank robbery suspect. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Susquehanna Township Police Lt. Robert 'Bo' McCallister persevered despite decades of pain after being shot," 20 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And black women, in particular, have been tormented over their hair since being brought to America as slaves. Dallas News, "Amid a global health crisis, why has Dallas been enthralled by hair? It’s complicated.," 8 May 2020 For more than one bad moment, a thought tormented her. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Sick with coronavirus, 7 months pregnant, nurse fears, 'I'm not going to make it through'," 24 Apr. 2020 It was tormented by the Pechenegs and the Cumans, and Russia got through all of it. Daria Litvinova, The Christian Science Monitor, "Putin's political agenda on hold as he faces virus backlash," 13 Apr. 2020 To torment the village schoolmaster, the rantipoles sneak into his house and load his favorite pipe with gunpowder. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Many Ways of Making Mischief," 7 Feb. 2020 Texas A&M continues to torment golden retrievers and other dogs, even though decades of these experiments have not led to a cure for humans with muscular dystrophy. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "James Cromwell Arrested at Texas A&M University While Protesting Dog Lab Testing at the School," 31 Oct. 2019 Coach Joe Moorehead doesn’t have Nick Fitzgerald to torment Kevin Steele’s defense, or a defensive line that had two players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Charles Hollis, al, "Auburn hitting groove, should be going into LSU showdown unbeaten," 26 Sep. 2019 Only someone deeply scarred would seek to torment and injure another young person in such an obvious way. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: Here’s my strategy if I run into the bully at our reunion," 6 Sep. 2019 The Brazilian continued to torment the Norwich defence with his close ball control and creativity. SI.com, "West Ham 2-0 Norwich: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Dominant Hammers Claim Victory," 31 Aug. 2019

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

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Torment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torment. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for torment

torment

noun
How to pronounce torment (audio)

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
How to pronounce torment (audio) How to pronounce torment (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on torment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for torment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with torment

Spanish Central: Translation of torment

Nglish: Translation of torment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of torment for Arabic Speakers

Comments on torment

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