Definition of traumatic in US English:

traumatic

adjective

  • 1Emotionally disturbing or distressing.

    ‘she was going through a traumatic divorce’
    • ‘The loss of innocence is not only inevitable, but it is also both traumatic and devastating.’
    • ‘For families of victims it is also deeply traumatic watching their loved ones struggle for breath.’
    • ‘We can only imagine this was indeed a most traumatic and horrifying discovery for the boy.’
    • ‘His lack of health was incredibly disturbing and traumatic for all of us, especially a young boy who idolised him.’
    • ‘It was the the most painful and traumatic thing I have ever experienced but I am glad I decided to wait it out and see if I could do it naturally.’
    • ‘It's as painful and traumatic as having a metal probe stuck under your fingernail to pull if off.’
    • ‘While still agonizing over this traumatic separation, he is approached by a white man who offers him a picayune.’
    • ‘Kids who have gone through a traumatic divorce or the loss of a loved one may already be emotionally at risk.’
    • ‘Separation and divorce are traumatic experiences for couples, their children and their extended families.’
    • ‘It was a deeply traumatic experience anticipating a police dog going berserk in the enclosed space that is Streatham Hill ticket office.’
    • ‘Stop reading books about making things work with your wife and read a few about how to make the divorce less traumatic for them.’
    • ‘For many, the most traumatic and painful part of the disorder is the constant obsession with food and weight.’
    • ‘And while the trend in the county was less devastating it was nonetheless traumatic.’
    • ‘These are people that are next to you in a traumatic incident and that trust and support and respect has to be there.’
    • ‘In Miller's case, the event was particularly traumatic, an awful bolt from the blue.’
    • ‘Divorce is traumatic enough without having to wait two years to get your case heard and sort out your life in a courthouse hall.’
    • ‘His daughter, now a healthy toddler, had open-heart surgery when she was a few weeks old, a time he remembers as traumatic and upsetting.’
    • ‘This is going to be traumatic and painful and I want to shield myself from it as much as possible.’
    • ‘Let me tell you that throat cancer is not a pretty or a dignified way to go: it is humiliating and painful and traumatic for their families who are left to pick up the pieces.’
    • ‘It was a traumatic episode with a distressing cliffhanger.’
    disturbing, shocking, distressing, disquieting, upsetting, damaging, scarring, injurious, harmful, hurtful, painful, agonizing, awful, chilling, alarming, devastating, harrowing, excruciating, horrifying, terrifying
    stressful, demanding, trying, taxing, terrible, bad, unpleasant, disagreeable, irksome, troublesome, vexatious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Relating to or causing psychological trauma.
      • ‘In fact, PTSD can occur in individuals who have been exposed indirectly to a traumatic stressor.’
      • ‘Since the traumatic incident was, by definition, unpleasant, its repetition appeared to contravene the pleasure principle.’
      • ‘Finally, traumatic stress seems to have had an impact on the prevalence of general psychopathology as well.’
      • ‘Psychological reactions to traumatic events also affect sexual functioning.’
      • ‘In addition, amnesia for traumatic events may occur in rare cases.’
    2. 1.2Medicine Relating to or denoting physical injury.
      • ‘All pregnant women with traumatic injury should be assessed formally in a medical setting.’
      • ‘Researchers know that one common thread in a body's reaction to a traumatic injury is inflammation.’
      • ‘This is the cause of chronic swelling that sometimes occurs after surgery or a traumatic injury to a limb.’
      • ‘About 600-700 people sustain acute traumatic injuries to the spinal cord in the United Kingdom each year.’
      • ‘We also asked the nurse to name one ward providing observation for patients with traumatic brain injuries, where we repeated the interview.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: via late Latin from Greek traumatikos, from trauma (see trauma).

Pronunciation