Definition of torment in English:

torment

Line breaks: tor|ment

noun

Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːmɛnt
 
/
[mass noun]
  • 1Severe physical or mental suffering: their deaths have left both families in torment
    More example sentences
    • It is a perilous journey into the unknown, with little or no guidance, mental torment and physical pain at every turn, and an uncertain outcome.
    • Ministers who believe in an eternal mental and physical torment are much thicker on the ground in the Highlands and Islands and on the west coast of the mainland.
    • Gloucester undergoes physical and mental torment because he makes the same mistake that Lear does.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1 [count noun] A cause of severe suffering: the journey must have been a torment for them
    More example sentences
    • He has a brace too, and obviously sees me as a fellow sufferer of orthodontic torments with whom he can generally commiserate and complain to about not having had toffee in eighteen months.
    • Andersen set these cruel torments in the wider context of a Christian allegory about suffering and redemption.
    • Under these pressures and the additional torments of yellow fever, all the veneers of civilization peel away and ‘the brutishness of primeval man burst forth.’
    Synonyms
    ordeal, affliction, scourge, curse, plague, bane, thorn in someone's side/flesh, cross to bear; calamity, sorrow, tribulation, vexation, persecution, trouble, pest, irritation, irritant, annoyance, worry, nuisance, misfortune, bother, discomfort, soreness, harassment
    informal pain in the neck

verb

Pronunciation: /tɔːˈmɛnt
 
/
[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Cause to experience severe mental or physical suffering: he was tormented by jealousy
    More example sentences
    • This is someone else who is unable to fit in, because he suffers from tinnitus, tormented by sounds inside his head - leading to an awe-inspiring exorcism scene.
    • On his journey, he endures numerous physical hardships and is tormented with many psychological dilemmas.
    • Now reflect that all these sentient beings, although they naturally desire happiness and wish to avoid suffering, are tormented by unimaginable sufferings.
    Synonyms
    torture, afflict, harrow, plague, distress, agonize, cause agony to, cause suffering to, cause pain to, inflict anguish on; excruciate, crucify, rack, pain; mortify, worry, trouble; abuse, maltreat, mistreat, molest
  • 1.1Annoy or provoke in an unkind way: every day I have kids tormenting me because they know I live alone
    More example sentences
    • Unfortunately, in spite of some progress, many of these kids are still tormented and teased.
    • Some are described as mischievous or ‘cheeky’ and like to annoy and torment people by taking things away or hiding them.
    • I only tell you this to assure you that many Mac people are near and dear to me and I would never do anything intentionally to taunt, tease or torment any of you.
    Synonyms
    tease, taunt, victimize, bully, bait, chaff, harass, rib, scorn; irritate, vex, annoy, pester, badger, harry, hector, plague, be a nuisance to, bother, trouble, bedevil, be a pest to, nag, persecute, worry, nettle, chivvy, irk
    informal needle, rag, hassle, aggravate

Derivatives

tormented

adjective
More example sentences
  • Every day Drew wakes up to an increasingly tormented family, and you're thinking, when is Christmas coming and when will it end?
  • All afternoon, he prowled his area like a tormented animal, occasionally slowing long enough to bawl an instruction or scribble a note in his pocket-sized notebook.
  • The murderously obscene verse that he occasionally turned on his rivals and enemies matched the aggression and violence of the time, but it also sprang from the same tormented and inspired source as his own helpless love.

tormentedly

adverb
More example sentences
  • These works are fuel for the imagination; ‘The Source’ is like a vision of hell, with small, scratched out figures tormentedly toiling at the behest of their larger, scratched out masters.
  • It was his inaction which led to Ann marrying Rothermere, but after the war they slowly and tormentedly realised their mistake, if that is what it was, and married in 1952.
  • The tone quality was exceptional, and his voice went from lyrical to tormentedly fractured within a phrase.

tormenting

adjective
More example sentences
  • We have got to live with that but what is extremely tormenting is not knowing what happened.
  • There are the capricious gusts of sea wind that sweep in unsuspectingly, the cunning bunkers, the enigmatic kicks and bounces, the blatantly tormenting results.
  • They were more likely to end up with Dives in the tormenting fires, if stories like this were true, than with Lazarus in the peace and comfort of Abraham's bosom.

tormentingly

adverb
More example sentences
  • Slowly, tormentingly, William's growing, love-gorged narcissism finally drives Emily away.
  • The river rises to swallow everything around, its rise painfully, tormentingly gradual like a torturous, emaciating death.
  • He was tormentingly tense and uneasy, and at the same time felt an extraordinary need for solitude.

tormentor

Pronunciation: /-ˈmɛntə/
noun
More example sentences
  • A Government Minister, who was bullied at school and forced to take on his tormentors in a fight, insisted yesterday that violence was not the answer to the problem.
  • Self identifies in his tormentor the classic insecurity of the playground bully.
  • For each mobile received, Refuge, which helps victims of domestic violence escape their tormentors, receives £2.75.

Origin

Middle English (as both noun and verb referring to the infliction or suffering of torture): Old French torment (noun), tormenter (verb), from Latin tormentum 'instrument of torture', from torquere 'to twist'.

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