extremely painful; causing intense suffering; unbearably distressing; torturing: an excruciating noise; excruciating pain.
exceedingly elaborate or intense; extreme: done with excruciating care.

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



verb (used with object), ex·cru·ci·at·ed, ex·cru·ci·at·ing.

to inflict severe pain upon; torture: The headache excruciated him.
to cause mental anguish to; irritate greatly.

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. 2019

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



unbearably painful; agonizing
intense; extremehe took excruciating pains to do it well
informal irritating; trying
jocular very badan excruciating pun
Derived Formsexcruciatingly, adverb


verb (tr)

to inflict mental suffering on; torment
obsolete to inflict physical pain on; torture
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.



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper