Definition of anguish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈaNGɡwiSH/


Severe mental or physical pain or suffering: she shut her eyes in anguish Philip gave a cry of anguish
More example sentences
  • I'm glad he no longer has to suffer not only the physical agony but also the mental anguish of rejecting this new world.
  • Rumor infiltrates the camp and Euryalus' mother cries out in anguish at the death of her son.
  • He dropped to his knees and gathered up handfuls of dust and smeared them on his forehead and chest, crying aloud in anguish.
agony, pain, torment, torture, suffering, distress, angst, misery, sorrow, grief, heartache, desolation, despair
literary dolor


[no object]
Be extremely distressed about something: he anguished over how to reply
More example sentences
  • It had been precisely five long years since the day they passed away and as much as it anguished her to do so, Callie couldn't bring herself to not acknowledge that.
  • How anguishing this book must have been to an individual so committed to protecting patients.
  • He is anguished to see that it is his mother who is moaning.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin angustia 'tightness', (plural) 'straits, distress', from angustus 'narrow'.

  • angina from mid 16th century:

    The Latin word angere, ‘to choke, squeeze, or strangle’, is the source of a number of English words. The most obvious is perhaps angina, which originally meant quinsy (an inflammation of the throat) and later referred to angina pectoris, a heart condition characterized by a feeling of suffocation and severe pain. Nervous tension can produce feelings of tightness in the throat and chest, which explains why angere is indirectly the root of anguish (Middle English) and anxiety (early 16th century).

Words that rhyme with anguish


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: an·guish

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