9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-flikt] /əˈflɪkt/
verb (used with object)
to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously:
to be afflicted with arthritis.
  1. to overthrow; defeat.
  2. to humble.
Origin of afflict
1350-1400; Middle English afflicten < Latin afflīctus distressed, past participle of afflīgere to cast down (af- af- + flīg- knock + -tus past participle suffix); replacing Middle English aflight < Middle French aflit < L. See inflict
Related forms
afflictedness, noun
afflicter, noun
overafflict, verb (used with object)
preafflict, verb (used with object)
self-afflicting, adjective
unafflicted, adjective
unafflictedly, adverb
unafflictedness, noun
unafflicting, adjective
Can be confused
afflict, infect, inflict.
1. vex, harass, torment, plague. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for afflict
  • The job of the news media is supposed to be to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.
  • But this is not an option for tests for those diseases that afflict only those in the tropics.
  • Drug companies need little arm-twisting when it comes to investing their resources into diseases that afflict millions.
  • For example, diabetes and heart disease often occur together and both often afflict overweight people.
  • Modesty doesn't commonly afflict million-selling rock stars.
  • Older suburbs are starting to suffer from some of the crime and joblessness that afflict inner cities.
  • Today expectant parents concerned about the diseases that could afflict their unborn children don't have a lot of options.
  • Some donors ask that their gifts be used to ease the loneliness, illness and distress that can afflict the aged.
  • But even today's mild strain causes aches and pains, which afflict different regions in different ways.
  • But the tumors that afflict us are not foreign parasites that have acquired sophisticated strategies for attacking our bodies.
British Dictionary definitions for afflict


(transitive) to cause suffering or unhappiness to; distress greatly
Derived Forms
afflictive, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin afflictus, past participle of afflīgere to knock against, from flīgere to knock, to strike
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for afflict

late 14c., "to cast down," from Old French aflicter, from Latin afflictare "to damage, harass, torment," frequentative of affligere (past participle afflictus) "to dash down, overthrow," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + fligere (past participle flictus) "to strike," from PIE root *bhlig- "to strike" (cf. Greek phlibein "to press, crush," Czech blizna "scar," Welsh blif "catapult"). Transferred meaning of "trouble, distress," is first recorded 1530s. Related: Afflicted; afflicting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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