Definition of affliction in English:



  • 1A cause of pain or harm.

    ‘a crippling affliction of the nervous system’
    • ‘‘Without it, children become easy prey for a host of life-threatening afflictions that carry in dirty water and on unwashed fingers,’ she said.’
    • ‘Swimming with dolphins has had an amazing effect on many people, helping them overcome a variety of afflictions.’
    • ‘In fact, he probably went into psychology in order to evade his own problems by concentrating on the mental afflictions of others.’
    • ‘The afflictions of a person suffering from terminal cancer were poignantly portrayed in the film, which also dwelt on the strengths of holistic medicine.’
    • ‘All three have tried assorted medication and even thought about brain surgery to rid themselves of their afflictions, so this is a desperate last attempt to find a cure and give them back their lives.’
    • ‘In the 1970s, when discoveries were made regarding its beneficial role in preventing heart attacks, strokes and other afflictions, other analgesics, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, were entering the market.’
    • ‘The patriarchal medicine of the 19th century believed that femaleness in itself was a disease, and puberty, pregnancy and menopause were considered horrible afflictions that prevented women from being educated or working.’
    • ‘The commandments that they propagate to prevent cancer highlight the importance of diet in warding off the affliction.’
    • ‘He listens to everyone and removes the pains and afflictions of all.’
    • ‘Our clumsy attempts at diagnosis are harmful to the people concerned, damaging to organisational productivity and insensitive to those who really do live with afflictions like Asperger's Syndrome.’
    • ‘Individuals suffering from this affliction consistently fall asleep in the early evening and wake in the early hours of the morning regardless of their work schedule and life's infringements.’
    • ‘Such matters include, for example, marital difficulties, anorexia, post-natal depression, physical and sexual abuse and other injuries, afflictions and misfortunes of an intimate and private nature.’
    • ‘I know that, in 10 years, cancer will be an affliction, but not one that sends fear in all of us.’
    • ‘As the acute, communicable diseases were defeated, attention shifted to the chronic and degenerative afflictions, especially cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.’
    • ‘His grandmother had the same affliction that his mother was cursed with.’
    • ‘If you have a minor affliction, chances are that there probably won't be any pain, both during and after treatment.’
    • ‘Their afflictions were of long standing, and they felt them to be irremediable.’
    • ‘It will also cover a number of other afflictions, besides gynaecological problems.’
    • ‘A new report warns that a group of tropical sea snails, famous for yielding new wonder drugs to treat chronic pain, cancer, and many other afflictions, could rapidly become extinct if measures are not taken to protect them.’
    • ‘Heartburn sounds such an innocuous affliction until you actually experience it but stabbing sharp pains in your chest when ever you bend down or lie down is not very fun.’
    disorder, disease, malady, complaint, ailment, illness, indisposition, scourge, plague, trouble, menace, evil, visitation
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    1. 1.1mass noun The state of being in pain.
      ‘poor people in great affliction’
      • ‘Many of our sisters and brothers around the world live in sorrow and affliction: in the pain of hunger or the grip of disease, in fear of political reprisals, in poverty so pervasive it saps the spirit.’
      • ‘I returned to the essay, which describes affliction as a condition deeper and more painful than suffering.’
      • ‘This is the way mankind will end up, imagines Margaret Atwood: with huge affliction and dismay.’
      • ‘He has written close to a dozen books set among the working class in this region, all of them stark portrayals of affliction, yet his writing is always redemptive and uplifting.’
      • ‘A scream of pure affliction passed across her lips and infinite pain seemed to hit her, bruising her heart.’
      • ‘He could understand the sad plight of fellow countrymen, their exploitation, poverty, suffering and affliction under the mercy of foreign rule and darkness of ignorance.’
      • ‘The Standard joins the many friends of the bereaved children in extending consolation and sympathy in their great affliction.’
      • ‘Some have complained bitterly of the failure of municipal authorities to provide adequate water for bathing in this bitter season of heat and affliction.’
      • ‘What roles does affliction, the suffering constrained by the sense of God's palpable absence, play in divine providence, according to Herbert's poetry?’
      • ‘Bemusement, uncertainty, insecurity, affliction are all tokens of an unremitting struggle; however stylish, the words are always about something, they are never in vacuo or for display.’
      • ‘Anger, it should be noted, has etymological roots both in trouble, grief and affliction.’
      • ‘The effects of man's exposition to these laws may vary between pleasure and pain, comfort and affliction, happiness and misery.’
      • ‘We deeply sympathize with the personal friends and relatives of the deceased in their great affliction, and hope that in their grief they may find consolation in the religion professed and lived by the Senator.’
      • ‘He also wants to make a point about human suffering and affliction, which he does by bringing out the allegorical significance of the story.’
      • ‘I never saw such a picture of forlorn affliction and distress of mind.’
      suffering, distress, pain, trouble, misery, wretchedness, hardship, misfortune, adversity, sorrow, torment, tribulation, woe, cross to bear, thorn in one's flesh, thorn in one's side
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    2. 1.2Astrology An instance of one celestial body afflicting another.
      • ‘The Sun ruling the 2nd is not such an affliction.’
      • ‘Sexual ‘abnormalities’ - including promiscuity - are associated in general with afflictions between Venus, Mars and Saturn.’
      • ‘Usually Saturn with Oculus Taurii produces great afflictions, and shows a strange mind.’
      • ‘If the horary concerns a 7th house matter, however, the affliction may be describing the situation under consideration, in which case the warning is to proceed with diligence.’
      • ‘Also Jupiter has just separated by two minutes from a square of the Sun, which is an affliction.’


Middle English (originally in the sense ‘infliction of pain or humiliation’, specifically ‘religious self-mortification’): via Old French from Latin afflictio(n-), from the verb affligere (see afflict).