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[trib-yuh-ley-shuh n] /ˌtrɪb yəˈleɪ ʃən/
grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.
an instance of this; an affliction, trouble, etc.
Origin of tribulation
1175-1225; Middle English < Latin trībulātiōn- (stem of trībulātiō) distress, trouble, equivalent to trībulāt(us) (past participle of trībulāre to press, squeeze, derivative of trībulum threshing sledge, equivalent to trī-, variant stem of terere to rub, crush + -bulum noun suffix of instrument) + -iōn- -ion
1. affliction, hardship, distress, adversity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tribulation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And such a battle and tribulation as they had with their vassals, the magistrates of Leith!

    Ringan Gilhaize John Galt
  • In joy or in pain, in happiness or in tribulation—gratitude!

    The Golden Fountain Lilian Staveley
  • tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed.

    Our Master Bramwell Booth
  • My heart makes a noise in me for my country, but the day of her tribulation is near.

    The Scapegoat Hall Caine
  • Then follows a description of the awful leader of evil during the tribulation time.

  • In 1820 that Society was emerging from a period of tribulation and repression.

    Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay George Otto Trevelyan
British Dictionary definitions for tribulation


a cause of distress
a state of suffering or distress
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Church Latin trībulātiō, from Latin trībulāre to afflict, from trībulum a threshing board, from terere to rub
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 tribulation

early 13c., from Old French tribulacion (12c.), from Late Latin tribulationem (nominative tribulatio) "distress, trouble, affliction" (c.200), from tribulatus, past participle of tribulare "to oppress, afflict," a figurative use by Christian writers of Latin tribulare "to press," also possibly "to thresh out grain," from tribulum "threshing sledge," from stem of terere "to rub" (see throw (v.)) + -bulum, suffix forming names of tools.

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

trouble or affiction of any kind (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 13:21; 2 Cor. 7:4). In Rom. 2:9 "tribulation and anguish" are the penal sufferings that shall overtake the wicked. In Matt. 24:21, 29, the word denotes the calamities that were to attend the destruction of Jerusalem.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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