torture

noun
tor·​ture | \ ˈtȯr-chər How to pronounce torture (audio) \

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 How to pronounce torturing (audio) , 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 How to pronounce torturer (audio) \ noun

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 Critics call the detention conditions mental torture. Washington Post, "Fugitive Ghosn brings global attention to Japanese justice," 9 Jan. 2020 There was an innocent beauty to her, despite such intimate torture. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Hope Beyond ‘Impeachmas’," 23 Dec. 2019 This is a kind of torture for the members, whose presence on the Senate floor generally consists of schmoozing and talking. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "A Senator Who Will Be Sorely Missed at Trump’s Impeachment Trial," 22 Dec. 2019 Two men have been convicted in the kidnapping and torture of a woman inside an Indianapolis home in 2018. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "2 men found guilty of kidnapping and torturing an Indianapolis woman in 2018," 13 Dec. 2019 In 2009, in his first days in office, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13491, barring federal agents from using waterboarding and similar torture while gathering intelligence. Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, "Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?," 8 Dec. 2019 Although some did try to back out, but were allegedly threatened with bodily harm, including torture. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Former Vice Canada Music Editor Sentenced to Nine Years for Drug Smuggling," 4 Dec. 2019 In volatile south Kashmir, where the government apprehended a forceful reaction, mass arrests were complemented by the arbitrary use of torture against youth, according to reports. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "Long before revoking Kashmir’s autonomy, India had a ready plan to quell protests," 2 Dec. 2019 And earlier this month the government offered a tour of Tora prison, which is notorious for torture. The Economist, "The authorities in Egypt raid Mada Masr—and reveal their fears," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mr Bolsonaro responded by praising Chile’s dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s, which tortured her father. The Economist, "Jair Bolsonaro’s contentious first year in office," 4 Jan. 2020 Judge al-Sadik al-Amin al-Fek, however, said on Monday that the teacher was beaten and tortured while in detention. Samy Magdy, USA TODAY, "Sudan sentences 27 security officials to death for torturing, killing protester," 30 Dec. 2019 Judge al-Sadik al-Amin al-Fek, however, said on Monday that the teacher was beaten and tortured while in detention. Washington Post, "Sudan sentences 27 to death for torturing, killing protester," 30 Dec. 2019 Saudi officials have denied that the activists were tortured. Anchorage Daily News, "Saudi Arabia says 5 sentenced to death in killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi," 23 Dec. 2019 Stalin is indicted for having more than 1.5 million people interrogated, tortured, and, in many cases, executed. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The Field Guide to Tyranny," 16 Dec. 2019 In some cases, targets Project Raven members spied on were arrested or deported from the UAE and allegedly tortured in their home countries, such as Saudi Arabia. Wired, "Security News This Week: 15 Million Iranian Bank Accounts Were Breached," 14 Dec. 2019 Klaas and dozens of others were tortured, then executed. USA Today, "Slavery reparations stir contentious debate. Why Brown and other universities are trying to make things right," 17 Dec. 2019 Those who tried to run were tortured, killed and sometimes cannibalized by fellow recruits in what U.S. federal agents describe as a disturbing rite of passage. Beth Warren, courier-journal.com, "A ruthless Mexican drug lord’s empire is devastating families with its grip on small-town USA," 25 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for torture

Time Traveler

The first known use of torture was in 1540

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Statistics for torture

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Torture.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tortured. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for torture

torture

noun
How to pronounce torture (audio)

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 How to pronounce torture (audio) \

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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Comments on torture

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