View synonyms for affliction


[ uh-flik-shuhn ]


  1. a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery:

    They sympathized with us in our affliction.

    Antonyms: solace, comfort, relief

  2. a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.

    Synonyms: disaster, catastrophe, calamity, tribulation, trouble, mishap


/ əˈflɪkʃən /


  1. a condition of great distress, pain, or suffering
  2. something responsible for physical or mental suffering, such as a disease, grief, etc

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Other Words From

  • af·fliction·less adjective
  • over·af·fliction noun
  • preaf·fliction noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of affliction1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English affliccioun, from Latin afflīctiōn-, stem of afflīctiō; equivalent to afflict + -ion

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Synonym Study

Affliction, adversity, misfortune, trial refer to an event or circumstance that is hard to bear. A misfortune is any adverse or unfavorable occurrence: He had the misfortune to break his leg. Affliction suggests not only a serious misfortune but the emotional effect of this: Blindness is an affliction. Adversity suggests a calamity or distress: Job remained patient despite all his adversities. Trial emphasizes the testing of one's character in undergoing misfortunes, trouble, etc.: His son's conduct was a great trial to him.

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Example Sentences

Arithmophobia may be an actual affliction, or maybe I made it up as a clinical-sounding excuse to explain my shortcomings.

If you asked me today to list all the possible afflictions that could cause the demise of the game’s 19th-century pioneers, I could probably still rattle them off.

From Ozy

Heat-related illness is a common affliction for those who fail to respect both the weather and their own bodily needs.

These afflictions are known as some of the hardest mental illnesses to treat, and they have the highest mortality rates of all mental conditions.

Regardless, Xie’s discoveries are crucial to understanding why some are born with such afflictions — and without them, the chances of creating preventative cures is slim.

From Ozy

“We always say addiction is an equal opportunity affliction,” Skipper said.

The term Affluenza caused a national gag reflex—and as a doctor I can assure you that, no, Affluenza is not a real affliction.

It took that hideous affliction to remove the even more hideous affliction of destructive and ingrown stories.

Not only was TBI an unknown affliction in midcentury America, we pretended that the war was in the distant past.

Casey Schwartz on the science behind the rare affliction—and how it spreads.

For the affliction of the daughter of my people I am afflicted, and made sorrowful, astonishment hath taken hold on me.

I have borne me up against affliction, till my o'ercharged bosom can contain no longer.

It is an insult to them to leave them to join in pleasure from which their recent affliction excludes them.

The smoking furnace symbolized the people of Israel who were to be tried in the iron furnace of affliction in Egypt.

If, after affliction, your friends call before you are able to see them, do not fear to give offence by declining to receive them.


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More About Affliction

What is affliction?

Affliction refers to a negative state that could include pain, suffering, or grief, as in The servants watched over the manor while the duke was in a state of affliction following his son’s death.

Affliction can also refer to something that causes mental or bodily pain, such as disease or misfortune, as in The captain was bedridden due to a mysterious affliction that the doctor couldn’t identify.  

Affliction is used similarly to words like adversity, misfortune, and trial, which also describe things that cause suffering or pain. Unlike these words, though, affliction is often used to describe something specifically forced on a person that causes serious emotional effects in addition to other suffering.

Example: The man lost his hearing during the accident but has since learned to live with his affliction. 

Where does affliction come from?

The first records of affliction come from around 1300. It ultimately comes from the Latin afflīctiōn-. It combines the verb afflict, meaning “to distress or trouble greatly,” and the suffix -ion, which forms nouns from verbs. An affliction is when a person has been afflicted by something bad.

The word affliction is commonly used to describe diseases or disorders, especially ones that are very painful or that greatly interfere with a person’s life. Blindness and diabetes are sometimes described as afflictions, for example. Affliction often implies an emotional impact in addition to the more direct pain or grief.

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What are some other forms related to affliction?

  • afflictionless (adjective)
  • overaffliction (noun)
  • preaffliction (noun)

What are some synonyms for affliction?

What are some words that share a root or word element with affliction

What are some words that often get used in discussing affliction?

How is affliction used in real life?

Affliction is a common word used to describe bad things that cause people pain and misery.

Try using affliction!

Is affliction used correctly in the following sentence?

The villagers suffered from a terrible affliction that turned out to be malaria.