Synonyms & Antonyms of torment

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a situation or state that causes great suffering and unhappiness
  • the released soldiers gave interviews trying to explain to civilians the torment that prisoners of war experience

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2 a state of great suffering of body or mind
  • was in torment for weeks after he broke up with his girlfriend

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3 a source of persistent emotional distress
  • insomnia that was caused by a host of nighttime torments

Synonyms for torment

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Synonyms & Antonyms of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

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Frequently Asked Questions About torment

How is the word torment different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of torment are afflict, rack, torture, and try. While all these words mean "to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear," torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance.

a horse tormented by flies

Where would afflict be a reasonable alternative to torment?

While the synonyms afflict and torment are close in meaning, 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

When could rack be used to replace torment?

The words rack and torment are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, rack stresses straining or wrenching.

a body racked by pain

When is torture a more appropriate choice than torment?

In some situations, the words torture and torment are roughly equivalent. However, torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering.

tortured by a sense of guilt

When might try be a better fit than torment?

While in some cases nearly identical to torment, try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control.

children often try their parents' patience

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Time Traveler for torment

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

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Cite this Entry

“Torment.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on torment

Nglish: Translation of torment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of torment for Arabic Speakers


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