Definition of anguish in English:



  • [mass noun] Severe mental or physical pain or suffering.

    ‘she shut her eyes in anguish’
    ‘Philip gave a cry of anguish’
    • ‘Courts have rejected the claims of people who tried to recover damages for pain and suffering and for mental anguish.’
    • ‘My ankle began to throb and I cried out in anguish.’
    • ‘Rumor infiltrates the camp and Euryalus' mother cries out in anguish at the death of her son.’
    • ‘The film depicts how physical and mental anguish can distort our view of reality.’
    • ‘Alexander cried out in anguish, but was unable to move away from a final blow.’
    • ‘I'm glad he no longer has to suffer not only the physical agony but also the mental anguish of rejecting this new world.’
    • ‘I am appealing to all mums and dads, please sit your children down and explain what distress and anguish they cause with their pranks.’
    • ‘She tried to get up but the stinging pain on her back caused her to cry out in anguish.’
    • ‘But deep down I felt for him because the pain and anguish he and his family went through was immense.’
    • ‘I was in anguish, feeling the pain of my neighbours who had lost relatives.’
    • ‘He dropped to his knees and gathered up handfuls of dust and smeared them on his forehead and chest, crying aloud in anguish.’
    • ‘Wit changes to anguish to make up a very absorbing narrative.’
    • ‘He says the trauma of that day continues to haunt him and has caused him severe mental anguish.’
    • ‘But if something had happened to me while I was there, I wouldn't have wanted the world to gnash its teeth in anguish and despair over me.’
    • ‘And when I woke up today, I found a lot of the despair and anguish I had been feeling lately had left me.’
    • ‘He was unable to speak from exhaustion, physical pain and mental anguish.’
    • ‘I cried in anguish, but I had to return to my school, a broken but wiser man.’
    • ‘Her face was set in anguish; eyes squeezed shut, her mouth twisted in sorrow.’
    • ‘But when it takes literally years for a full inquest to be staged, families say the pain and anguish they suffer becomes that much worse.’
    • ‘I had to bite down on my lip and close my eyes for a moment to keep myself from crying out in anguish.’
    agony, pain, torment, torture, suffering, distress, angst, misery, sorrow, grief, heartache, heartbreak, wretchedness, unhappiness, woe, desolation, despair
    the dark night of the soul, purgatory, hell on earth
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  • Be extremely distressed about something.

    ‘I spent the next two weeks anguishing about whether I'd made the right decision’
    • ‘She showed him which ones, but he didn't seem all too anguished about it, for he gave her a dismissive wave.’
    • ‘She was anguishing over it until she felt a hand on her shoulder.’
    • ‘Madeline is devastated by guilt and anguished over her helplessness.’
    • ‘To say the least, it is a tragedy generations after generations will anguish about.’
    • ‘But while others anguished over what his life meant, Ali had no such trouble: he knew who he was and exactly what he wanted’
    • ‘A senior diplomat from another council member said his government had heard a similar message and was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war.’
    • ‘They have anguished over a daughter's headaches and the sight of blood running from the nose of a son who has never suffered from nosebleeds before.’
    • ‘Certainly his letter to his wife showed a man anguished about his family.’
    • ‘She was also a deeply religious woman, although non-conformist, and anguished over the plight of prostitutes - women she felt were denied the chance to return to God's grace.’
    • ‘What if she doesn't understand English and can't smile even if she wants to, I anguished.’
    • ‘Ava anguished, stupidly thinking that it'd be easy to just relax around Dianna, but she, Ava was still the prey and Dianna the predator.’
    • ‘Future historians will ask whether a society that anguished over the imposition of ever more absurd politically correct terminology might not have been better employed in curbing some of the excesses of the rock music industry.’
    • ‘Well, a lady in that church anguished whether she should tell the pastor.’
    • ‘More time to contemplate and anguish over one of the most difficult decisions a person ever has to make.’
    agonized, tormented, racked with pain, racked with suffering, tortured, harrowed
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Middle English: via Old French from Latin angustia tightness, (plural) straits, distress, from angustus narrow.