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

Inspired by the trials and tribulations of relationships, these romantic tunes are sure to spark nostalgia. Natalie Schumann, Country Living, "40 Classic Summer Country Songs That Never Get Old," 7 June 2019 Users have been posting wild, relatable, and downright hilarious stories about the trials and tribulations of having company over. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Twitter Users Are Spilling the Funniest Reasons Why They Don’t Invite People into Their Homes," 5 June 2019 Several rivals’ shares lost between 30% and 50% even without such tribulations. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Asset Management’s Squeezed Middle Faces a Bleak 2019," 2 Jan. 2019 The show blends together your favorite aspects of a teen drama like Riverdale with the fascinating trials and tribulations of a social experiment a la Lord of the Flies. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here's Everything We Know About "The Society" Season 2," 10 May 2019 But alas, these are the trials and tribulations of a designer. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "See the Dramatic Reveal from the Best Room Wins Series Premiere," 2 May 2019 The recent tribulations of Facebook, which has lurched from crisis to crisis over the last year, most recently over the handling of users’ personal data, has pushed a few of the industry’s most prominent names to speak out against the company. Nick Wingfield, New York Times, "As Facebook Struggles, Rivals’ Leaders Stay (Mostly) Mum," 1 Apr. 2018 Smith and bassist Eric Bass (who produced the new record) went deep on the crowd-pleasing rock band’s new album, and the personal tribulations that led them to explore such an introspective approach. Chris Payne, Billboard, "#AlternativeFacts Podcast: The Darkness That Drove Shinedown's Most Personal Album Yet (And What's Next)," 22 May 2018 Tune into see the trials and tribulations of all the Reagans on Blue Bloods, every Friday at 10 p.m. EST on CBS. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Star Tom Selleck Confirms If Frank Reagan Will Date a Woman From His Past," 8 Feb. 2019

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

17 Jun 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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