• synonyms


See more synonyms for excruciating on Thesaurus.com
  1. extremely painful; causing intense suffering; unbearably distressing; torturing: an excruciating noise; excruciating pain.
  2. exceedingly elaborate or intense; extreme: done with excruciating care.
Show More

Origin of excruciating

First recorded in 1655–65; excruciate + -ing2
Related formsex·cru·ci·at·ing·ly, adverbun·ex·cru·ci·at·ing, adjective

Synonyms for excruciating

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com


verb (used with object), ex·cru·ci·at·ed, ex·cru·ci·at·ing.
  1. to inflict severe pain upon; torture: The headache excruciated him.
  2. to cause mental anguish to; irritate greatly.
Show More

Origin of excruciate

1560–70; < Latin excruciātus, past participle of excruciāre to torment, torture, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + cruciāre to torment, crucify (derivative of crux cross); see -ate1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for excruciating

unbearable, grueling, acute, searing, severe, agonizing, harrowing, intense, exquisite, consuming, burning, punishing, piercing, stabbing, tormenting, shooting, tearing, rending, torturing

Examples from the Web for excruciating

Contemporary Examples of excruciating

Historical Examples of excruciating

  • They preferred to endure the most excruciating pain, rather than separate for an hour.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • "Then we'll push on at once," she gasped, as if speech itself were an excruciating effort.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Here the excruciating anguish of the father, overcame that of the dying man.

    A Simple Story

    Mrs. Inchbald

  • The cold was keener than ever; it was merciless; it was excruciating.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • He is off his food, and sinks rapidly in condition; and the pain is excruciating.

British Dictionary definitions for excruciating


  1. unbearably painful; agonizing
  2. intense; extremehe took excruciating pains to do it well
  3. informal irritating; trying
  4. jocular very badan excruciating pun
Show More
Derived Formsexcruciatingly, adverb


verb (tr)
  1. to inflict mental suffering on; torment
  2. obsolete to inflict physical pain on; torture
Show More
Derived Formsexcruciation, noun

Word Origin for excruciate

C16: from Latin excruciāre, from cruciāre to crucify, from crux cross
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

Word Origin and History for excruciating


1590s, present participle adjective from excruciate. Related: Excruciatingly.

Show More



1560s, from Latin excruciatus, past participle of excruciare "to torture, torment, rack, plague;" figuratively "to afflict, harass, vex, torment," from ex- "out, thoroughly" (see ex-) + cruciare "cause pain or anguish to," literally "crucify," from crux (genitive crucis) "cross."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper