Definition of torture in English:


Syllabification: tor·ture
Pronunciation: /ˈtôrCHər


  • 1The action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.
    More example sentences
    • In that memo, it was asserted that inflicting severe pain constituted torture only if the perpetrator knowingly acted for the express and sole purpose of causing agony.
    • The insurgency has led police to abuse detainees, using torture as punishment or to extract confessions, the report said.
    • A practice of torture by police or prison authorities, either in the form of political persecution or in the context of Art 3 of the Convention, is attributable to the State.
    infliction of pain, abuse, ill-treatment, maltreatment, persecution; sadism
  • 1.1Great physical or mental suffering or anxiety: the torture I’ve gone through because of loving you so
    More example sentences
    • ‘We see asylum seekers every day who tell us the most harrowing tales of the mental and physical torture and trauma they've suffered,’ she said.
    • Along with the other organisers he was sent to Drapchi where he suffered physical and mental torture.
    • Many people who have had to flee their homelands will have suffered physical or mental torture.
  • 1.2A cause of suffering or anxiety: dances were absolute torture because I was so small


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Inflict severe pain on: most of the victims had been brutally tortured
    More example sentences
    • If the history was one of beating up someone, or tormenting or torturing someone, that is always relevant leading up to the act.
    • The IHD state that there is always a high possibility that a person will be tortured in police custody.
    • He believed that he would be imprisoned, tortured or possibly executed.
    inflict pain on, ill-treat, abuse, mistreat, maltreat, persecute
  • 1.1Cause great mental suffering or anxiety to: he was tortured by grief
    More example sentences
    • If you seek pleasure with disregard for others you're going down a dark, lonely, depressing slide into mental torture a place where you wish you weren't born.
    • The site was too much to take in, yet a firm imprint of what was before me was planted firmly into my mind, torturing me for as long as I live.
    • I had my car back, so there wouldn't be any long, silent, bus rides to torture my mind with.
    torment, rack, afflict, harrow, plague, agonize, scourge, crucify



More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, this is the only case in two decades of dictatorship in which torturers were held accountable.
  • They include mass murderers, torturers, former and future tyrants and assorted international criminals.
  • He also thinks it amounts to a legal how-to guide for torturers.


late Middle English (in the sense 'distortion, twisting', or a physical disorder characterized by this): via French from late Latin tortura 'twisting, torment', from Latin torquere 'to twist'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody