Definition of affliction in US English:



  • 1Something that causes pain or suffering.

    ‘a crippling affliction of the nervous system’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you have a minor affliction, chances are that there probably won't be any pain, both during and after treatment.’
    • ‘Swimming with dolphins has had an amazing effect on many people, helping them overcome a variety of afflictions.’
    • ‘His grandmother had the same affliction that his mother was cursed with.’
    • ‘The commandments that they propagate to prevent cancer highlight the importance of diet in warding off the affliction.’
    • ‘Their afflictions were of long standing, and they felt them to be irremediable.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the acute, communicable diseases were defeated, attention shifted to the chronic and degenerative afflictions, especially cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.’
    • ‘I know that, in 10 years, cancer will be an affliction, but not one that sends fear in all of us.’
    • ‘He listens to everyone and removes the pains and afflictions of all.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It will also cover a number of other afflictions, besides gynaecological problems.’
    • ‘In fact, he probably went into psychology in order to evade his own problems by concentrating on the mental afflictions of others.’
    • ‘‘Without it, children become easy prey for a host of life-threatening afflictions that carry in dirty water and on unwashed fingers,’ she said.’
    • ‘The afflictions of a person suffering from terminal cancer were poignantly portrayed in the film, which also dwelt on the strengths of holistic medicine.’
    • ‘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.’
    disorder, disease, malady, complaint, ailment, illness, indisposition, scourge, plague, trouble, menace, evil, visitation
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    1. 1.1 Pain or suffering.
      ‘poor people in 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I returned to the essay, which describes affliction as a condition deeper and more painful than suffering.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is the way mankind will end up, imagines Margaret Atwood: with huge affliction and dismay.’
      • ‘What roles does affliction, the suffering constrained by the sense of God's palpable absence, play in divine providence, according to Herbert's poetry?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I never saw such a picture of forlorn affliction and distress of mind.’
      • ‘Anger, it should be noted, has etymological roots both in trouble, grief and 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.’
      • ‘The effects of man's exposition to these laws may vary between pleasure and pain, comfort and affliction, happiness and misery.’
      • ‘He also wants to make a point about human suffering and affliction, which he does by bringing out the allegorical significance of the story.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Standard joins the many friends of the bereaved children in extending consolation and sympathy in their great affliction.’
      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.
      • ‘Usually Saturn with Oculus Taurii produces great afflictions, and shows a strange mind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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).