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 Houshang Asadi, a cellmate there, remembers him as a kindly if austere man, gentle enough to feed one of his fellow-prisoners after a session of torture. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Twilight of the Iranian Revolution," 18 May 2020 In 2013, the Argentine judge, María Servini de Cubría, issued an international arrest warrant for Mr. González Pacheco on 13 counts of torture as part of the broader investigation. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "Antonio González Pacheco, Accused Policeman in Franco’s Spain, Dies at 73," 15 May 2020 Why do schools put kids through this particular form of torture? Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "New research finds the key trait in people who help their teams outperform," 8 May 2020 That's why solitary confinement is a form of torture. Natasha Preskey, refinery29.com, "This Is Why You Find Zoom Calls So Tiring," 3 May 2020 The indictment by German prosecutors accuses him of complicity in more than 4,000 cases of torture. NBC News, "Syrian ex-secret police go on trial for war crimes in Germany," 23 Apr. 2020 More than 15 consecutive days in solitary meets the United Nations’ definition of torture. Saida Grundy, The Atlantic, "Why Boredom Affects Us So Much," 17 Apr. 2020 In February, Fakhoury was charged by a military judge with the murder and torture of inmates at Khiam Prison. Washington Post, "Judge in Lebanon appeals order to release Lebanese-American," 17 Mar. 2020 In February, Fakhoury was charged by a military judge with the murder and torture of inmates at Khiam Prison. NBC News, "Lebanese judge denied release of Lebanese-American accused of torture during war," 17 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb He was alternately questioned and tortured from the beginning. Matt Schudel, BostonGlobe.com, "Sam Johnson, seven-year POW in Vietnam who became a Texas congressman, dies at 89," 29 May 2020 For example, in the years before millions took to Egypt’s streets in 2011, many videos of police torturing victims surfaced and went viral online, provoking anger. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, "This Social Media Mob Was Good," 28 May 2020 For more on Gordhan’s career, click here Imprisoned and tortured for his role in the struggle against apartheid, Gordhan boosted South Africa’s revenue collection as head of the tax service and twice served as finance minister. Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg.com, "Gordhan Stakes His Reputation and South Africa’s on Airline," 26 May 2020 Would the former Jedi have been torturing Ewoks, high-fiving the Emperor (with his one human hand, of course), and burning down Tosche Station after stealing all their power converters? Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Mark Hamill wanted Luke to turn to the dark side in Return of the Jedi," 15 May 2020 After all the reports came out on the Khashoggi case, my parents knew that Loujain had been tortured. Joseph Hincks, Time, "'She's Starting to Lose Hope.' Two Years On, Sister of Jailed Saudi Women's Rights Activist Pleads for Justice," 15 May 2020 Favre eventually figured everything out and spent the rest of his career torturing the Lions, going 23-9 with the Packers and 3-0 with the Vikings against Detroit. Chris Thomas, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions let these NFL coaching legends get away: 61 playoff appearances," 4 May 2020 The report detailed China’s imprisonment of more than 1 million Uighurs in camps where many say they were raped, tortured, or sterilized. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Religious freedom watchdog recommends US boycott Chinese Winter Olympics," 28 Apr. 2020 Cherubs held candles before him, kneeling at this final feast before torturing burglars. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "Craving mac and cheese? Try our 7 favorites at these Dallas-area restaurants," 15 May 2020

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

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Torture.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torture. Accessed 5 Jun. 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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