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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
  • Major league baseball isn't the only sport ready to inflict serious damage to itself this summer.
  • Such signs point to a department with serious internal issues and, worse, chomping to inflict their unhappiness on a newcomer.
  • Another of the aims of terrorism is to inflict economic damage, so weakening the target government.
  • As for the suggestion that scientists purposely inflict harm on animals with the only goal of profiting.
  • Not only are they cruelly torturing cats, but also all the wildlife that they inflict their cats upon.
  • They have a long muzzle and sharp fangs designed to inflict deadly injury.
  • It takes panache to play a large outdoor carillon and inflict your art, unbidden, on a neighborhood.
  • Katrina taught us what devastation extreme weather can inflict on colleges.
  • These fish also inflict their venoms with a delivery mechanism.
  • Freedom does not mean inflict damage, not on yourself nor onto someone else.
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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