[ uh-flik-shuhn ]
/ əˈflɪk ʃən /
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a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery: They sympathized with us in our affliction.
a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.
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Origin of affliction

1300–50; Middle English affliccioun<Latin afflīctiōn- (stem of afflīctiō). See afflict, -ion

synonym study for affliction

2. 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.


af·flic·tion·less, adjectiveo·ver·af·flic·tion, nounpre·af·flic·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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.

How to use affliction in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for affliction

/ (əˈflɪkʃən) /

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