Definition of torture in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːtʃə/


[mass noun]
1The action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something: the torture of political prisoners confessions extracted under torture [as modifier]: a torture chamber
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, torment;
ill treatment, maltreatment, harsh treatment, punishment, persecution
1.1Great physical or mental suffering: 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.
torment, agony, suffering, pain;
anguish, misery, distress, heartbreak, affliction, trauma, wretchedness, woe;
hell, purgatory
rare excruciation
1.2A cause of great physical or mental suffering: dances were absolute torture because I was so small


[with object]
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, inflict suffering on;
torment, ill-treat, abuse, mistreat, maltreat, molest, scourge, wound, put someone on the rack, persecute, punish
informal work over, give someone the works
1.1Cause great mental suffering 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, afflict, harrow, plague, distress, agonize, cause agony to, cause suffering to, inflict anguish on;
crucify, rack, pain, mortify;
worry, trouble, beset





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'.

Words that rhyme with torture

debaucher, scorcher

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tor|ture

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