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Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of torture are afflict, rack, torment, and try. While all these words mean "to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear," torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering.

tortured by a sense of guilt

When is it sensible to use afflict instead of torture?

While the synonyms afflict and torture 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 would rack be a good substitute for torture?

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

a body racked by pain

In what contexts can torment take the place of torture?

The synonyms torment and torture are sometimes interchangeable, but torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance.

a horse tormented by flies

Where would try be a reasonable alternative to torture?

The meanings of try and torture largely overlap; however, try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control.

children often try their parents' patience

Thesaurus Entries Near torture

Cite this Entry

“Torture.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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