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

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

The most controversial tweet was one on the alleged torture of young Kashmiri men at the hands of the Indian armed forces. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Getting trolled is a small price to pay to get information out of Kashmir, says activist Shehla Rashid," 22 Aug. 2019 The torture left him with two crooked fingers, chronic back pain and a limp. New York Times, "Missionary, Businessman, Prisoner, Spy: An American’s Odyssey in North Korea," 9 Aug. 2019 The series will start with the story of Mamie Till and the brutal torture and slaying of her son, Emmett, in 1955. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "History’s Grim Duty: raceAhead," 7 Aug. 2019 In the late 1980s, American bounty hunters abducted a Mexican physician suspected of aiding in the torture and murder of a US drug enforcement agent. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Mexico wants to extradite the El Paso gunman," 5 Aug. 2019 There is a lot of hope for the future of the franchise, but that doesn't take away from the torture of the past. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals fans apparently not among NFL's most tortured fan bases," 2 Aug. 2019 Surviving torture, rape and numerous threats, the two turned to their faith before finally finding a way to escape. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Alyson Hannigan Is a Mom Fighting for Her Life in Lifetime's Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story," 9 Aug. 2019 The pair were also found guilty of murder, extermination, deportation, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, religious and racial grounds, and other inhumane acts. Helen Regan And Sharif Paget, CNN, "Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea dies at 93," 4 Aug. 2019 And so Pompeo will likely be presented with Tollefsen’s detailed arguments on gun rights, the death penalty, torture, and religious freedom. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "A philosopher helping the US define “unalienable rights” has some unexpected human rights views," 30 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Mughal authority took it as a disgrace and ordered the Guru to be tortured in the most inhuman manner. Sondeep Sankar, Quartz India, "In photos: A glorious history of Sikhism," 3 Sep. 2019 Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the mother of Anthony Avalos and her boyfriend, who are accused of torturing the 10-year-old boy for days before his death last year. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: An asylum policy on shaky ground," 29 Aug. 2019 Bachelet, a former president of Chile (2006–10), is a socialist whose father died in prison after being tortured by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "In a United Nations Report, a Socialist Details Venezuela’s Horrors," 17 July 2019 Gardozo Vazquez is being held at the Newton County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and a felony charge of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, police said. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Former Fair Oaks employee arrested; faces animal torture, cruelty charges," 12 June 2019 One of the activists abducted and tortured ahead of last week’s demonstration, Tatenda Mombeyarara had visible wounds on his legs, hands, buttocks and back. Washington Post, "Zimbabwe comedian is latest in torture of government critics," 25 Aug. 2019 Lladrovci may have even begun to compete with him for the loyalty of the Albanian recruits and been tortured for challenging his authority. The Economist, "Confessions of an Islamic State fighter," 16 Aug. 2019 In a press release, the heads of several civil society organizations said six people were abducted and severely tortured on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mark Chingono, Bukola Adebayo And Brent Swails, CNN, "Violence escalates in Zimbabwe as court rules against opposition protests," 16 Aug. 2019 Not knowing what happened to Brenden in his final hours has left them tortured. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Mother of man who died of suicide in Cuyahoga County Jail: “They failed him”," 15 Aug. 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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Statistics for torture

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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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 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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