Definition of anguish in US English:

anguish

noun

  • Severe mental or physical pain or suffering.

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

verb

[no object]
  • Be extremely distressed about something.

    ‘he anguished over how to reply’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You smile so that others won't see what's anguishing you.’
    • ‘What anguished me most was that I had allowed this to happen to me.’
    • ‘Many of his supporters were anguished by the political cost of their votes of conscience.’
    • ‘Certainly his letter to his wife showed a man anguished about his family.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What if she doesn't understand English and can't smile even if she wants to, I anguished.’
    • ‘A firefighter and fire technician with Parks Canada, Taylor uses his unique perspective to capture in anguishing detail the awesome force that is a forest fire.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How anguishing this book must have been to an individual so committed to protecting patients.’
    • ‘Kornfeld is also strongly attracted to the idea of a free soul and is anguished by the fact that men are ‘burdened’ by being ‘chained’ to their souls.’
    • ‘But while others anguished over what his life meant, Ali had no such trouble: he knew who he was and exactly what he wanted’
    • ‘Christian is anguished when he loses the money and he has to admit that half of the money belongs to Clym.’
    • ‘He is anguished to see that it is his mother who is moaning.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was anguishing over it until she felt a hand on her shoulder.’
    • ‘It had been precisely five long years since the day they passed away and as much as it anguished her to do so, Callie couldn't bring herself to not acknowledge that.’
    • ‘She showed him which ones, but he didn't seem all too anguished about it, for he gave her a dismissive wave.’
    • ‘To say the least, it is a tragedy generations after generations will anguish about.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Madeline is devastated by guilt and anguished over her helplessness.’
    agonized, tormented, racked with pain, racked with suffering, tortured, harrowed
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin angustia ‘tightness’, (plural) ‘straits, distress’, from angustus ‘narrow’.

Pronunciation

anguish

/ˈæŋɡwɪʃ//ˈaNGɡwiSH/