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[in-flikt] /ɪnˈflɪkt/
verb (used with object)
to impose as something that must be borne or suffered:
to inflict punishment.
to impose (anything unwelcome):
The regime inflicted burdensome taxes on the people.
to deal or deliver, as a blow.
Origin of inflict
1520-30; < Latin inflīctus past participle of inflīgere to strike or dash against, equivalent to in- in-2 + flīg- (stem of flīgere to beat down) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
inflictable, adjective
inflicter, inflictor, noun
inflictive, adjective
preinflict, verb (used with object)
uninflicted, adjective
Can be confused
afflict, infect, inflict. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inflict
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How to inflict the maximum of discomfort upon M. Destournelle with the minimum of risk to herself was the question.

  • The greatest wrong you can inflict upon me will be inflicted by your desertion.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • But such ceaseless use was cruel punishment, and no man wanted to inflict it.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • I am unacquainted with the nature of all the papers she received, but I well remember the agony they seemed to inflict on her.

    The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
  • Capt. Smith took prompt measures to secure redress, and inflict vengeance upon the savages.

British Dictionary definitions for inflict


verb (transitive)
often foll by on or upon. to impose (something unwelcome, such as pain, oneself, etc)
(rare) to cause to suffer; afflict (with)
to deal out (blows, lashes, etc)
Derived Forms
inflictable, adjective
inflicter, inflictor, noun
infliction, noun
inflictive, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin inflīgere to strike (something) against, dash against, from flīgere 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 inflict

1560s, from Latin inflictus, past participle of infligere "to strike or dash against," from in- "on, against" (see in- (2)) + fligere (past participle flictus) "to dash, strike" (see afflict). You inflict trouble on someone; you afflict someone with trouble. Shame on you.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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