Definition of afflict in US English:



[with object]
  • 1(of a problem or illness) cause pain or suffering to; affect or trouble.

    ‘his younger child was afflicted with a skin disease’
    ‘serious ills afflict the industry’
    ‘he comforted the afflicted’
    • ‘Companies have made great advances in tackling health problems afflicting dancers, but those could be lost if proper practices are not maintained at all levels of the profession, he said.’
    • ‘The problem usually afflicts rural areas, where deep well drilling hits arsenic-rich aquifers.’
    • ‘A number of serious diseases afflict the population, including malaria, tuberculosis, and cholera.’
    • ‘A vast array of social problems afflict a country so recently traumatized by war.’
    • ‘Part of the reason was that the kings were able to insulate themselves from problems afflicting the rest of society.’
    • ‘The document identified several problems afflicting the new curriculum.’
    • ‘The word from the World Health Organisation is that by the year 2020, depression will be the second most common health problem afflicting our population.’
    • ‘They claim they are too easy a target for the game's governing bodies who ought to be looking elsewhere to help ease the financial problems afflicting the game at a lower level.’
    • ‘All joking aside, the most important health problem afflicting our nation right now is obesity, according to the National Institute of Health.’
    • ‘There are simply too many socioeconomic problems afflicting the educational setting for such a fast turnaround.’
    • ‘Of course, it does not mean he is not familiar with the issues and problems afflicting the two suburbs.’
    • ‘It found no cardiac benefit in those already somewhat afflicted by heart problems.’
    • ‘This problem afflicts a quarter of all irrigated land and is most acute in Pakistan, where two million hectares have been lost to high soil salinity.’
    • ‘This will remove the problems afflicting society, particularly those affecting the working class majority.’
    • ‘To be sure, the social and economic problems afflicting these nations are acute, but the current crisis is at root a political one, and progress will not come without serious reform.’
    • ‘Over the coming weeks, we'll be highlighting how organic farming can provide solutions to the seemingly intractable problems afflicting our food chain.’
    • ‘When we are afflicted with such illnesses, we expect to recover quickly and fully.’
    • ‘At least the Prime Minister has acknowledged one of the most pressing problems afflicting rural areas: the alarming demise of sub-post offices.’
    • ‘Similar problems afflict many other European universities.’
    • ‘The decline of the world's fish stocks is, next to global warming, probably the greatest problem afflicting our environmental commons.’
    trouble, bother, burden, distress, cause trouble to, cause suffering to, beset, harass, worry, oppress, annoy, vex, irritate, exasperate, strain, stress, tax
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    1. 1.1Astrology (of a celestial body) be in a stressful aspect with (another celestial body or a point on the ecliptic)
      ‘Jupiter is afflicted by Mars in opposition’
      • ‘A planet in detriment or fall is in a precarious condition, more so if it is peregrine or otherwise afflicted.’
      • ‘It is cadent from the Ascendant and afflicted by a square to Saturn.’
      • ‘Saturn, the Greater Malefic and ruler of the 8th house, is stronger than the victim's significator, the Moon, and afflicts the 11 th house of hopes and dreams.’
      • ‘But if that path is afflicted, the astrologer can suggest alternatives.’
      • ‘Where afflicted or badly placed, Jupiter will produce negative traits through excess or weakness.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘deject, humiliate’): from Latin afflictare ‘knock about, harass’, or from afflict- ‘knocked down, weakened’: both from the verb affligere, from ad- ‘to’ + fligere ‘to strike, dash’.