Definition of torment in US English:



Pronunciation /ˈtɔrmɛnt//ˈtôrment/
  • 1Severe physical or mental suffering.

    ‘their deaths have left both families in torment’
    • ‘Gloucester undergoes physical and mental torment because he makes the same mistake that Lear does.’
    • ‘She has recovered her good looks but suspects the deepest scars, the mental torment she suffers after being almost murdered by a man she once loved, will never heal.’
    • ‘But hunger there was, and continuous physical torment, and the sudden cessation of all human privacy.’
    • ‘Each sob brought a load of pain with it, adding physical pain to the mental and emotional torment he was already suffering from.’
    • ‘No drug can eliminate that mental torment when a hitter is supposed to deliver or a pitcher is supposed to succeed.’
    • ‘Abnormalities in a midpregnancy scan had indicated that all was not as it should be but little did she know of the mental torment and physical endurance test that lay in store.’
    • ‘Ministers who believe in an eternal mental and physical torment are much thicker on the ground in the Highlands and Islands and on the west coast of the mainland.’
    • ‘It is a perilous journey into the unknown, with little or no guidance, mental torment and physical pain at every turn, and an uncertain outcome.’
    • ‘Other students are putting their lives at risk by hanging out in remote car parks and disused buildings because of the physical and emotional torment they face daily from their peers.’
    • ‘Phil is putting himself through physical torment so that little children don't step on landmines and die.’
    • ‘Though I do not regret that you will be the one to embark on the quest, I do find it sad that you are already suffering such inner torment.’
    • ‘Whatever was done to her, it drained her of all memories and caused much mental torment.’
    • ‘I could only imagine the inner torment he must be suffering.’
    • ‘But those who do not have a peaceful conscience, dread death even though life means nothing but physical torment.’
    • ‘Not even the delight of passing his driving test or having more time to indulge his devotion to Real Madrid could assuage the inner torment of self-doubt.’
    • ‘Before any physical torment, the idea would be to make him give up, lose hope.’
    • ‘The intense mental and physical torment that could be ahead of you will blow your mind.’
    • ‘But, to be that glamorous, vibrant and articulate woman, Alíesha has endured enormous torment, physical pain and anguish.’
    • ‘They can basically splurge all the details about what they have been up to in India or how they are suffering inner torment to their companion.’
    • ‘But it is also one that depicts the inner torment and anguish of a guilt-ridden monarch.’
    1. 1.1 A cause of suffering.
      ‘the journey must have been a torment for them’
      • ‘Prickly pear cacti had been a torment during the difficult portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri.’
      • ‘The pleasure of the text is unmitigated by the monstrous unfairness that these torments would entail if they were visited upon an actual mature unmarried woman.’
      • ‘The dream world is supposed to house escape, and yet the troubles and torments of the real world constantly find there way into the fantastical mix.’
      • ‘He has a brace too, and obviously sees me as a fellow sufferer of orthodontic torments with whom he can generally commiserate and complain to about not having had toffee in eighteen months.’
      • ‘Under these pressures and the additional torments of yellow fever, all the veneers of civilization peel away and ‘the brutishness of primeval man burst forth.’’
      • ‘Andersen set these cruel torments in the wider context of a Christian allegory about suffering and redemption.’
      • ‘Later, he looked for ways to treat the so-called phantom limb pain that often torments amputees.’


[with object]
Pronunciation /tôrˈment//tɔrˈmɛnt/
  • 1Cause to experience severe mental or physical suffering.

    ‘he was tormented by jealousy’
    • ‘But the shame and the revulsion, the eyes like a mourning shroud, would torment his mind.’
    • ‘My experiences sometimes troubled and tormented me by not understanding while the picture is in shaping stages.’
    • ‘Jack drinks to the nagging, festering sense of regret that torments his sleep.’
    • ‘‘I am truly sorry,’ Gregory repeated as a new surge of remorse was summoned to torment him.’
    • ‘This film had to move fast: it was set on a runaway train hurtling towards destruction at the hands of a driver facing retirement, tormented by jealousy.’
    • ‘He's an alcoholic physician tormented by an horrific memory.’
    • ‘And even the natural laws of physics start tormenting you, and you can't even put something on the table without it falling off the other side and down behind the couch…’
    • ‘This is someone else who is unable to fit in, because he suffers from tinnitus, tormented by sounds inside his head - leading to an awe-inspiring exorcism scene.’
    • ‘I have suffered from the humiliating and tormenting memories of this summer as from a bout of madness - what I indicated in Basle and in my last letter concealed the most essential thing.’
    • ‘Henrik is tormented with sorrow over the loss of his wife Anna and the conflict over Karin's leaving is heightened by his need to cling to her in the absence of Anna.’
    • ‘They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety.’
    • ‘It attracts men beset by alcohol, drug and gambling woes along, increasingly, with those tormented by serious mental health issues.’
    • ‘We've all been tormented by jealousy or grief or anger; we've all experienced the way such emotions can carry us away from our reasonable, day-to-day state of mind.’
    • ‘Now reflect that all these sentient beings, although they naturally desire happiness and wish to avoid suffering, are tormented by unimaginable sufferings.’
    • ‘Their most profound was a poison that could put a person in great physical pain, then torment them with past woes.’
    • ‘Why G-d's creation suffers, and how and when this suffering will cease is a question that has always tormented me - a mystery only G-d has the answer to.’
    • ‘Many adults are tormented by fears that stem from childhood experiences.’
    • ‘On his journey, he endures numerous physical hardships and is tormented with many psychological dilemmas.’
    • ‘My 18-year-old grandson has been tormented with severe acne for more than three years.’
    • ‘Thus viewers passed up all the opportunities to gain interesting insights into David and instead experienced the prolonged sequence as unfairly tormenting the viewers who have come to care for him as a person.’
    torture, afflict, harrow, plague, distress, agonize, cause agony to, cause suffering to, cause pain to, inflict anguish on
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    1. 1.1 Annoy or provoke in a deliberately unkind way.
      ‘every day I have kids tormenting me because they know I live alone’
      • ‘Soon enough, Tucker shows up late one night to torment the anguished adolescent about their relationship.’
      • ‘But what about the third-rate, Deliverance style hicks tormenting the kids?’
      • ‘The two jocks got up and went to go torment the kid.’
      • ‘I swear they enjoyed tormenting us kids, making us go up and down the staircases so often just to get to our next classes in about three minutes.’
      • ‘It should be obvious that psychologically and physically tormenting a prisoner is illegal in the United States.’
      • ‘Think back to your highschool days and recall the most nerdy, goofy, awkward kid that you and your jock friends bullied around and tormented each and every year.’
      • ‘Many times in school, kids had tormented her because of the sheltered upbringing, and she always proudly defended it as necessary.’
      • ‘The permanently enraged Pierre torments his students with physical bullying and childish tantrums - at one point, he even throws himself out of class - and has successfully turned them all into quivering neurotics.’
      • ‘It's frustrating enough to encounter a big setback, so why torment the kids with snakes.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, in spite of some progress, many of these kids are still tormented and teased.’
      • ‘Even after he had kidnapped and tormented the kid, he had still gone on to worldwide fame.’
      • ‘We torment them; we increase the damage they have already suffered.’
      • ‘The only reason he had put it on in the first place was because some kids in Colorado got sick of being pushed around and shot the kids that tormented them.’
      • ‘He lives a miserable life, tormented by his aunt and uncle and his spoiled cousin.’
      • ‘Some are described as mischievous or ‘cheeky’ and like to annoy and torment people by taking things away or hiding them.’
      • ‘I say, make the parents sign a declaration that their kids will refrain from tormenting the adults and keep well away.’
      • ‘This is true whether he's dealing with the tyrannically needy Louise, or the popular kids who torment them both at school.’
      • ‘The kids torment him and pick on him and turn him into an outcast.’
      • ‘Bullies are increasingly using phones with built-in cameras to torment their victims.’
      • ‘I only tell you this to assure you that many Mac people are near and dear to me and I would never do anything intentionally to taunt, tease or torment any of you.’
      tease, taunt, victimize, bully, bait, chaff, harass, rib, scorn
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Middle English (as both noun and verb referring to the infliction or suffering of torture): Old French torment (noun), tormenter (verb), from Latin tormentum ‘instrument of torture’, from torquere ‘to twist’.