Synonyms & Antonyms of anguish

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a state of great suffering of body or mind
  • as a new teacher, she was in real anguish over the decision to report the cheating

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Synonyms & Antonyms of anguish (Entry 2 of 2)

2 to feel deep sadness or mental pain
  • I anguished over the loss of my father for years afterwards

Synonyms for anguish

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Frequently Asked Questions About anguish

How is the word anguish different from other nouns like it?

Some common synonyms of anguish are grief, regret, sorrow, and woe. While all these words mean "distress of mind," anguish suggests torturing grief or dread.

the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child

When could grief be used to replace anguish?

The words grief and anguish are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, grief implies poignant sorrow for an immediate cause.

the inexpressible grief of the bereaved parents

When can regret be used instead of anguish?

Although the words regret and anguish have much in common, regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse.

nagging regret for missed opportunities

When might sorrow be a better fit than anguish?

While the synonyms sorrow and anguish are close in meaning, sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse.

a family united in sorrow upon the patriarch's death

When would woe be a good substitute for anguish?

The meanings of woe and anguish largely overlap; however, woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery.

cries of woe echoed throughout the bombed city

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

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Cite this Entry

“Anguish.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on anguish

Nglish: Translation of anguish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anguish for Arabic Speakers


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