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From Old French aflicter, from Latin afflictare (to damage, harass, torment), frequentative of affligere (to dash down, overthrow).



afflict (third-person singular simple present afflicts, present participle afflicting, simple past and past participle afflicted)

  1. (transitive) To cause (someone) pain, suffering or distress.
    • 1611, Authorized King James translation of Exodus 1:11–12:
      Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
    • 1611, Authorized King James translation of Leviticus 23:27:
      Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
  2. (obsolete) To strike or cast down; to overthrow.
    • Milton
      reassembling our afflicted powers
  3. (obsolete) To make low or humble.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)
    • Jeremy Taylor
      Men are apt to prefer a prosperous error before an afflicted truth.

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