Definition of torment in English:


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  • 1Severe physical or mental suffering.

    ‘their deaths have left both families in torment’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Gloucester undergoes physical and mental torment because he makes the same mistake that Lear does.’
    • ‘Each sob brought a load of pain with it, adding physical pain to the mental and emotional torment he was already suffering from.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Phil is putting himself through physical torment so that little children don't step on landmines and die.’
    • ‘I could only imagine the inner torment he must be suffering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But hunger there was, and continuous physical torment, and the sudden cessation of all human privacy.’
    • ‘No drug can eliminate that mental torment when a hitter is supposed to deliver or a pitcher is supposed to succeed.’
    • ‘Before any physical torment, the idea would be to make him give up, lose hope.’
    • ‘Whatever was done to her, it drained her of all memories and caused much mental torment.’
    • ‘But it is also one that depicts the inner torment and anguish of a guilt-ridden monarch.’
    1. 1.1A cause of suffering.
      ‘the journey must have been a torment for them’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Andersen set these cruel torments in the wider context of a Christian allegory about suffering and redemption.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Prickly pear cacti had been a torment during the difficult portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Later, he looked for ways to treat the so-called phantom limb pain that often torments amputees.’



/ˈtôrˌment/ /ˈtɔrˌmɛnt/

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Cause to experience severe mental or physical suffering.

    ‘he was tormented by jealousy’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On his journey, he endures numerous physical hardships and is tormented with many psychological dilemmas.’
    • ‘Now reflect that all these sentient beings, although they naturally desire happiness and wish to avoid suffering, are tormented by unimaginable sufferings.’
    • ‘It attracts men beset by alcohol, drug and gambling woes along, increasingly, with those tormented by serious mental health issues.’
    • ‘My 18-year-old grandson has been tormented with severe acne for more than three years.’
    • ‘Their most profound was a poison that could put a person in great physical pain, then torment them with past woes.’
    • ‘My experiences sometimes troubled and tormented me by not understanding while the picture is in shaping stages.’
    • ‘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…’
    • ‘He's an alcoholic physician tormented by an horrific memory.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘I am truly sorry,’ Gregory repeated as a new surge of remorse was summoned to torment him.’
    • ‘But the shame and the revulsion, the eyes like a mourning shroud, would torment his mind.’
    • ‘Jack drinks to the nagging, festering sense of regret that torments his sleep.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety.’
    torture, afflict, harrow, plague, distress, agonize, cause agony to, cause suffering to, cause pain to, inflict anguish on
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    1. 1.1Annoy or provoke in a deliberately unkind way.
      ‘every day I have kids tormenting me because they know I live alone’
      • ‘Unfortunately, in spite of some progress, many of these kids are still tormented and teased.’
      • ‘Some are described as mischievous or ‘cheeky’ and like to annoy and torment people by taking things away or hiding them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The kids torment him and pick on him and turn him into an outcast.’
      • ‘This is true whether he's dealing with the tyrannically needy Louise, or the popular kids who torment them both at school.’
      • ‘It's frustrating enough to encounter a big setback, so why torment the kids with snakes.’
      • ‘But what about the third-rate, Deliverance style hicks tormenting the kids?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I say, make the parents sign a declaration that their kids will refrain from tormenting the adults and keep well away.’
      • ‘Many times in school, kids had tormented her because of the sheltered upbringing, and she always proudly defended it as necessary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even after he had kidnapped and tormented the kid, he had still gone on to worldwide fame.’
      • ‘The two jocks got up and went to go torment the kid.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bullies are increasingly using phones with built-in cameras to torment their victims.’
      • ‘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 should be obvious that psychologically and physically tormenting a prisoner is illegal in the United States.’
      • ‘Soon enough, Tucker shows up late one night to torment the anguished adolescent about their relationship.’
      • ‘We torment them; we increase the damage they have already suffered.’
      • ‘He lives a miserable life, tormented by his aunt and uncle and his spoiled cousin.’
      tease, taunt, victimize, bully, bait, chaff, harass, rib, scorn
      View synonyms



/ˈtôrˌment/ /ˈtɔrˌmɛnt/ /tôrˈment/ /tɔrˈmɛnt/


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’.