- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tormenting
I called to her, but she slipped away with a tormenting smile at my helpless hands, and I followed her with some impatience.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
Banville may tarnish his hero a bit, particularly by tormenting him with alcohol.Can Pulp Win the Booker?
September 7, 2011
The coach of the William McKinley High School Cheerios is a ruthless bully, tormenting both students and teachers alike.TV’s Best and Worst Teachers
September 4, 2011
These icons haunted my fitful rest, tantalizing and tormenting as I waited in vain for the Sirenes.The Extinction Parade: An Original Zombie Story by Max Brooks
January 14, 2011
I am a dawn riser, more prone to tormenting the early shift with headline changes than the late-nighters.The Daily Beast Turns 2!
October 5, 2010
My dear Friend,—That tormenting creature, Reginald, is here.Lady Susan
I took revenge on you for recognizing me by tormenting you as far as I dared.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
I trust I am not superstitious, but the vision had remained with me in all its tormenting detail.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
Eugen, as if stung by some tormenting thought, sprung up and we left the wood.The First Violin
Yet he lay there, wide-eyed, wondering, and tormenting himself.People of Position
Stanley Portal Hyatt
- to afflict with great pain, suffering, or anguish; torture
- to tease or pester in an annoying waystop tormenting the dog
- physical or mental pain
- a source of pain, worry, annoyance, etc
- archaic an instrument of torture
- archaic the infliction of torture
Word Origin and History for tormenting
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.