grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.
an instance of this; an affliction, trouble, etc.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tribulation (ˌtrɪbjʊˈleɪʃən)
1.  a cause of distress
2.  a state of suffering or distress
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., from O.Fr. tribulacion (12c.), from L.L. tribulationem (nom. tribulatio) "distress, trouble, affliction" (c.200), from tribulatus, pp. of tribulare "to oppress, afflict," a figurative use by Christian writers of L. tribulare "to press," also possibly "to thresh out grain," from tribulum
"threshing sledge," from stem of terere "to rub" (see throw) + -bulum, suffix forming names of tools.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Tribulation definition

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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Example sentences
For these tribulations he deserves a degree of sympathy.
He drops you into their world so that you feel their trials and tribulations.
See more of the cast's tribulations in the gallery above.
The beef market's tribulations have generated political heat.
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