Definition of inflict in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈflɪkt/


[with object]
1Cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something: they inflicted serious injuries on three other men
More example sentences
  • Its whip-like tail can drive a tail spine into an intruder and inflict a painful wound.
  • It inflicts a painful sting that is sometimes deadly to humans, as well as to young, unprotected livestock and wildlife.
  • Both the Greater Weever and the Lesser Weever are capable of inflicting a sharp and painful sting from the spiny rays of the first dorsal fin.
administer to, deal out to, mete out to, serve out to, deliver to, apply to;
lay, impose, exact, wreak;
cause to, give to
1.1 (inflict something on) Impose something unwelcome on: she is wrong to inflict her beliefs on everyone else
More example sentences
  • We've tried everything to help him deal with his issues, to get him to talk and to make him realize that the way he inflicts his rage on those around him is totally unacceptable.
  • But globalisation inflicts insecurities on many whose cultures are put on the defensive and whose civilisations, after ages of little change, are compelled to adapt to outside influences.
  • At one level, this is certainly the case: the loss of a top operative inevitably inflicts some damage on the operational capabilities of an organisation.
impose, force, press, thrust, foist;
saddle someone with, land someone with, lumber someone with, burden someone with





(also inflictor) noun
Example sentences
  • The more polite inflictor of this mildly embarrassing situation will usually hastily strafe away in a breakneck fashion.
  • Well, my pain inflicter was a man, but he wasn't blind.
  • In the case of Peter, the extreme nature of the fundamentalism in which he has grown up is represented in his personality as an inflictor of self-punishment, an instiller of critical voices, and rigidity of discipline.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'afflict, trouble'): from Latin inflict- 'struck against', from the verb infligere, from in- 'into' + fligere 'to strike'.

  • afflict from Late Middle English:

    The early senses of afflict were ‘deject’ and ‘humiliate’; the word comes from Latin afflictare ‘knock about, harass’. Inflict (mid 16th century) originally had the same meaning and comes from Latin infligere ‘to strike against’.

Words that rhyme with inflict

addict, afflict, conflict, constrict, contradict, convict, delict, depict, evict, hand-picked, interdict, Pict, predict, reconvict, strict

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|flict

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