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[v. tawr-ment, tawr-ment; n. tawr-ment] /v. tɔrˈmɛnt, ˈtɔr mɛnt; n. ˈtɔr mɛnt/
verb (used with object)
to afflict with great bodily or mental suffering; pain:
to be tormented with violent headaches.
to worry or annoy excessively:
to torment one with questions.
to throw into commotion; stir up; disturb.
a state of great bodily or mental suffering; agony; misery.
something that causes great bodily or mental pain or suffering.
a source of much trouble, worry, or annoyance.
an instrument of torture, as the rack or the thumbscrew.
the infliction of torture by means of such an instrument or the torture so inflicted.
Origin of torment
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English < Old French < Latin tormentum rope, catapult, torture < *torkw-ment- (see torque, -ment); (v.) Middle English tormenten < Old French tormenter, derivative of torment (compare Late Latin tormentāre)
Related forms
tormentedly, adverb
tormentingly, adverb
tormentingness, noun
untormented, adjective
untormenting, adjective
untormentingly, adverb
1. harry, hector, vex, distress, agonize. T orment , rack , torture suggest causing great physical or mental pain, suffering, or harassment. T o torment is to afflict or harass as by incessant repetition of vexations or annoyances: to be tormented by doubts. T o rack is to affect with such pain as that suffered by one stretched on a rack; to concentrate with painful effort: to rack one's brains. T o torture is to afflict with acute and more or less protracted suffering: to torture one by keeping one in suspense. 2. plague, pester, tease, provoke, needle, trouble, fret. 4. torture, distress, anguish.
1. please. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for torment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But consolation to Haman will be death and torment to Mordecai.

  • The torment was far too racking for such futile fashion of lamentation.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • He wanted me too much, at the end of a string, to torment, and to get money from when times were bad.

    The Far Horizon Lucas Malet
  • It seemed to relieve the tension drawn by the other woman's torment.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The lights went out early, but long into the night the boy lay awake in torment.

    The Fighting Edge William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for torment


verb (transitive) (tɔːˈmɛnt)
to afflict with great pain, suffering, or anguish; torture
to tease or pester in an annoying way: stop tormenting the dog
noun (ˈtɔːmɛnt)
physical or mental pain
a source of pain, worry, annoyance, etc
(archaic) an instrument of torture
(archaic) the infliction of torture
Derived Forms
tormented, adjective
tormentedly, adverb
tormenting, adjective, noun
tormentingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin tormentum, from torquēre
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 torment

late 13c., "inflicting of torture," also "state of great suffering," from Old French tourment (11c.), from Latin tormentum "twisted sling, rack," related to torquere "to twist" (see thwart).


late 13c., from Old French tormenter (12c.), from Latin tormentare, from tormentum (see torment (n.)). Related: Tormented; tormenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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torment in the Bible

Gr. basanos (Matt. 4:24), the "touch-stone" of justice; hence inquisition by torture, and then any disease which racks and tortures the limbs.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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