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 torture (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 torture (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for torture

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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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 Initially, the Coast Guard conducted informal screenings to determine whether the Haitians had a credible fear of torture or persecution, and thus might qualify for refugee status. Jill Goldenziel, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 This time, the producers have apparently asked him to assume the role of someone’s angry, disappointed dad and add some psychological torture to the mix. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, 22 Sep. 2021 But, what about CIA's enhanced interrogation program, what many people call torture? CBS News, 22 Sep. 2021 Her body bore telltale signs of a prolonged brutal torture, according to Santa Clara County coroner Dr. Richard Mason. Grace Kahng, ABC News, 16 Sep. 2021 Animals’ feelings, even if present, were morally irrelevant to Descartes, who attempted to prove his point by subjecting dogs and rabbits to exquisite torture. Hope Ferdowsian, Scientific American, 16 Sep. 2021 The acts of brutal torture that William was forced to commit are presented as warped nightmares, suggesting a total loss of control—and making the stakes of maintaining composure in his new life even higher. David Sims, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2021 This country has a moral obligation to stand against torture, and to support human rights for all. Elizabeth Miller, Time, 10 Sep. 2021 Few listeners in the developed world won’t be able to relate to her descriptions of twin selfies as the basis of eventual self-torture. Chris Willman, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In a weird kind of way, Matt Nagy might be looking to torture himself a bit over the next six weeks. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, 30 July 2021 Regan eventually refashions her hearing aid into a screeching device to torture the aliens, and the first movie ends on a cliffhanger, as Mrs. Abbott pumps her shotgun and her daughter readies their speaker system for carnage. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 8 July 2021 Mads Mikkelsen does not cook human flesh, dance passionately on a pier to a pop song, or torture anyone by hitting them in the balls in Doctor Strange. Carrie Wittmer, Vulture, 14 July 2021 Also, a chance to torture Dan Espinoza for one more season sure sounds like a lot of fun. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 30 May 2021 Just as Bragg is getting ready to torture Singh into cooperating, the Batch shows up to pull him out of Imperial turf. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, 2 July 2021 The more Daniels professes his innocence, the harsher his treatment by detectives trying to beat and torture him into signing a false confession. Gene Seymour, CNN, 26 May 2021 Unfortunately for Townsend, his plan to torture Liz in front of Reddington is slightly altered by the fact that Reddington has just slammed through the wall of the warehouse in a tank. Jodi Walker, EW.com, 15 May 2021 Branham told police he had been paid to help kidnap and torture the two victims, according to his arrest citation. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, 26 Mar. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near torture

torturable

torture

torturedly

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Statistics for torture

Last Updated

26 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Torture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torture. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on torture

Nglish: Translation of torture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of torture for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about torture

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