torture

noun
tor·​ture | \ˈtȯr-chər \

Definition of torture 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure

2a : something that causes agony or pain

b : anguish of body or mind : agony

3 : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : straining

torture

verb
tortured; torturing\ ˈtȯrch-​riŋ , ˈtȯr-​chə-​ \

Definition of torture (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause intense suffering to : torment

2 : to punish or coerce by inflicting excruciating pain

3 : to twist or wrench out of shape : distort, warp

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Other Words from torture

Verb

torturer \ ˈtȯr-​chər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for torture

Synonyms: Noun

agony, Gehenna, hell, horror, misery, murder, nightmare, torment

Synonyms: Verb

afflict, agonize, anguish, bedevil, beset, besiege, curse, excruciate, harrow, persecute, plague, rack, torment

Antonyms: Noun

heaven, paradise

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Choose the Right Synonym for torture

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 torture in a Sentence

Noun

Waiting is just torture for me. Listening to him can be torture.

Verb

The report revealed that prisoners had been repeatedly tortured. Don't torture yourself over the mistake.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even in the face of imminent, wall-spattering death or toenail-pulling torture, the speech of Inishmoreans exudes a homogenizing prosiness. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 The first step should be to stop the torture of kids. Jorge Ramos, Time, "Jorge Ramos: Yes, the Family Separation Policy Is Torture," 20 June 2018 The country’s leader, Islam Karimov, was a de-facto dictator, and his security services had been accused of manifold abuses, including the torture of political opponents. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 The torture has barely begun when things fall apart, with some of the sub's crew turning violently on the others. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Black Water': Film Review," 23 May 2018 Critics struggled to grapple with yet another Lars von Trier film depicting the brutal torture and murder of women. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "This year’s Cannes Film Festival was a plea against complacency," 18 May 2018 Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "‘He’s Dying Anyway’: White House Aide’s Crass ‘Joke’ About Sen. John McCain," 11 May 2018 Even non-believers cringe when hearing about the torture and death of a man who spent his life helping others. Atlanta Life, ajc, "Crucifixion still happening in the world today," 23 Mar. 2018 Golden, a 52-year-old from Athens, faces 22 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the torture and deaths of multiple cats, records show. Ashley Remkus, AL.com, "Ronald Golden, the accused Craigslist cat killer, set for trial in torture deaths of cats," 4 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Umaima said her husband Awad's transformation came in 2010, after Iraqi security forces accused his brother of being a militant and fatally tortured him. NBC News, "Divorce on the rise in Iraq as wives cut ties to ISIS militants," 5 July 2018 The title of this short-story collection story tells of a future in which a computer has managed to kill off all but a few humans, keep them immortal, and torture them eternally. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "5 Great Works From Acclaimed Sci-Fi Author Harlan Ellison, Who Died at 84," 29 June 2018 Prosecutors said the couple starved the nanny, beat her with an electrical cable, and tortured her by dunking her head under water. Jill Lawless, BostonGlobe.com, "London couple convicted of murdering nanny, burning her body," 24 May 2018 In 2001, Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant tortured in a New York City police station, agreed to an $8.7 million settlement with the city and its police union. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 12 July 2018 North Korea denies torturing Warmbier, and a US coroner report last September found no obvious signs of torture. Alex Ward, Vox, "North Korea has just released 3 American hostages," 9 May 2018 And the Valley Beyond offers heaven to a group of beings who’ve been tortured again and again in the physical world. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Westworld’s Virtual Afterlife Might Not Be Fiction," 27 June 2018 For months, Curiel and Huntsman beat, starved and tortured the three children, authorities said. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Man gets life term for beating 2 children to death, torturing a third," 13 July 2018 Remember John Walker Lindh, the kid that was tortured out in the open during a month in December of 2001? Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "Media / News / Politics Sey Hersh on his rough-and-tumble Chicago past: ‘At some point I realized I was in a tyranny’," 29 June 2018

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

Noun

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Verb

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for torture

Noun

Middle French, from Old French, from Late Latin tortura, from Latin tortus, past participle of torquēre to twist; probably akin to Old High German drāhsil turner, Greek atraktos spindle

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Statistics for torture

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for torture

The first known use of torture was in 1540

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More Definitions for torture

torture

noun

English Language Learners Definition of torture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of causing severe physical pain as a form of punishment or as a way to force someone to do or say something

: something that causes mental or physical suffering : a very painful or unpleasant experience

torture

verb

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

: to cause (someone) to experience severe physical pain especially as a form of punishment or to force that person to do or say something

: to cause (someone) to feel very worried, unhappy, etc.

torture

noun
tor·​ture | \ˈtȯr-chər \

Kids Definition of torture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of causing great pain especially to punish or to obtain a confession

2 : distress of body or mind Waiting is just torture for me.

torture

verb
tortured; torturing

Kids Definition of torture (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to punish or force someone to do or say something by causing great pain

2 : to cause great suffering to

Other Words from torture

torturer noun

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