trib·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌtri-byə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce tribulation (audio) \

Definition of tribulation

: distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution also : a trying experience the trials and tribulations of starting a new business

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IT's Not Hard to Learn About Tribulation

The writer and Christian scholar Thomas More, in his 1534 work A dialoge of comforte against tribulation, defined the title word as "euery such thing as troubleth and greueth [grieveth] a man either in bodye or mynde." These days, however, the word tribulation is typically used as a plural noun, paired with its alliterative partner trial, and relates less to oppression and more to any kind of uphill struggle. Tribulation derives via Middle English and Old French from the Latin verb tribulare ("to oppress or afflict"), which is related to tribulum, a noun meaning "threshing board."

Examples of tribulation in a Sentence

Her son's illness has been a source of great tribulation. The play is about the tribulations of a family of immigrants in New York.

Recent Examples on the Web

ENCINITAS Teazed, a local Encinitas band made up of five youths who write originals about the trials and tribulations of Middle School, will play in front of Moonlight Music 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 6 during the Encinitas Taste event. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local American Association of University Women installs officers," 5 Aug. 2019 Milan have to wait until the end of August for their domestic trials and tribulations to get under way, but Giampaolo will be content with his sides progress and encouraging display in preparation for I Rossoneri's curtain-raiser away at Udinese., "Man Utd 2-2 AC Milan: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Red Devils Earn Penalty Shootout Victory," 3 Aug. 2019 Kathy Nakagawa, who will share the trials and tribulations of adulting as a parent. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "Arizona Storytellers to share joys and pains of 'Adulting' at Phoenix event," 2 Aug. 2019 Our wayward Prince of Tyre faces all manner of trials and tribulations in this epic adventure partially attributed to the Bard. Los Angeles Times, "6 Weekend Picks: Shakespeare’s ‘Pericles,’ American Contemporary Ballet and more," 2 Aug. 2019 Its cruelty-free formulation, which includes ingredients like tapioca starch, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), coconut oil, and shea butter, keeps me smelling like a tasteful amount of vanilla through all of the day’s trials and tribulations. Tess Garcia,, "I’ve Tried Tons of Aluminum-Free Deodorants, and This Is the Only One That Actually Works," 26 July 2019 The markets’ brutal response today to reports of US antitrust probes suggests that Google’s tribulations won’t end any time soon. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "US tech giants facing antitrust probes won’t find respite in Google-EU fight," 3 June 2019 May also recounted Bible stories to the inmates, including Daniel’s tribulations in the lion’s den. Randall Chase, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Survivor blames officials for prison riot," 16 July 2018 The tour itself has ridden the waves of Beirut’s tribulations. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "Walking Tour of a City’s History, Assassinations Included," 7 Feb. 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tribulation

Middle English tribulacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin tribulation-, tribulatio, from tribulare to press, oppress, from tribulum drag used in threshing, from terere to rub — more at throw entry 1

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Statistics for tribulation

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for tribulation

The first known use of tribulation was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of tribulation

: unhappiness, pain, or suffering
: an experience that causes someone to suffer


trib·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌtri-byə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce tribulation (audio) \

Kids Definition of tribulation

1 : an experience that is hard to bear He suffered many trials and tribulations.
2 : distress or suffering resulting from cruel and unjust treatment or misfortune Her son's illness has been a source of tribulation.

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of or relating to the heavens

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