Definition of inflict in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something.

    ‘they inflicted serious injuries on three other men’
    • ‘She cut him on his side, inflicting wounds up to seven inches long.’
    • ‘My colleagues and I are living in a city recovering from the wounds inflicted last week.’
    • ‘Both the Greater Weever and the Lesser Weever are capable of inflicting a sharp and painful sting from the spiny rays of the first dorsal fin.’
    • ‘But remember, the hand that inflicts the wound also holds the cure.’
    • ‘On this day in 1940 Leon Trotsky died in Mexico City from wounds inflicted by an assassin.’
    • ‘A single large rocket inflicts damage equivalent to that of a large mortar shell.’
    • ‘Its whip-like tail can drive a tail spine into an intruder and inflict a painful wound.’
    • ‘A blow of mild to moderate force with a knife could have inflicted such a wound.’
    • ‘The police say his wounds look as though they were inflicted by a knife.’
    • ‘On any view you inflicted the fatal wounds with a knife and caused the victim's death.’
    • ‘Foxhunting may be cruel, but it inflicts less pain on ‘sensible beings’ than fishing which, as a popular sport, is never going to be banned.’
    • ‘I grabbed the gaffing hook and managed to inflict a minor flesh wound in his calf before we called it quits.’
    • ‘The defendant was found to have a stainless steel multi-tool with a knife blade on it which he had used to inflict the wounds.’
    • ‘Wounds were inflicted by puncturing the plant material three times with a hypodermic needle.’
    • ‘But when one actively inflicts pain, on oneself or on others, there is excitement and jubilation in the spectacle of the pain.’
    • ‘In the first place, stiffer sentences need to be imposed on any person who stabs or inflicts bodily harm on another person.’
    • ‘He saw that the deceased had received stab wounds inflicted by the other man.’
    • ‘It inflicts a painful sting that is sometimes deadly to humans, as well as to young, unprotected livestock and wildlife.’
    • ‘And this time, the defeat of a civilisation will have been inflicted by its own side.’
    • ‘His strike hit home, knocking a few of the armoured scales loose and inflicting a minor wound.’
    administer to, deal out to, mete out to, serve out to, deliver to, apply to
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    1. 1.1inflict something on Impose something unwelcome on.
      ‘she is wrong to inflict her beliefs on everyone else’
      • ‘But globalisation inflicts insecurities on many whose cultures are put on the defensive and whose civilisations, after ages of little change, are compelled to adapt to outside influences.’
      • ‘At one level, this is certainly the case: the loss of a top operative inevitably inflicts some damage on the operational capabilities of an organisation.’
      • ‘Party activists and trade unionists were going to inflict a string of defeats on the leadership on key policy areas.’
      • ‘We were a fine guerilla force, inflicting a series of defeats on the party establishments.’
      • ‘We've tried everything to help him deal with his issues, to get him to talk and to make him realize that the way he inflicts his rage on those around him is totally unacceptable.’
      • ‘The latter returned fire, inflicting some casualties on the guerrillas.’
      • ‘Their recklessness inflicts distress and suffering upon other people, to say nothing of the expense to which the ratepayers are put on keeping the sanatorium in full swing month after month.’
      • ‘In 1783 and 1784, Tipu inflicts a series of crushing defeats on the armies of the East India Company.’
      • ‘That luck will have to hold, as City inflicted one of the biggest defeats of the season on us earlier in the season.’
      • ‘In addition to inflicting grave injustices on property owners, takings that transfer property to powerful private interests are not needed to rescue distressed urban areas.’
      impose, force, press, thrust, foist
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Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘afflict, trouble’): from Latin inflict- ‘struck against’, from the verb infligere, from in- ‘into’ + fligere ‘to strike’.