verb (used with object)

to impose as something that must be borne or suffered: to inflict punishment.
to impose (anything unwelcome): The regime inflicted burdensome taxes on the people.
to deal or deliver, as a blow.

Origin of inflict

1520–30; < Latin inflīctus past participle of inflīgere to strike or dash against, equivalent to in- in-2 + flīg- (stem of flīgere to beat down) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsin·flict·a·ble, adjectivein·flict·er, in·flic·tor, nounin·flic·tive, adjectivepre·in·flict, verb (used with object)un·in·flict·ed, adjective
Can be confusedafflict infect inflict Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inflict

Contemporary Examples of inflict

  • The rise of ISIS has revealed the horrors that people are willing to inflict upon one another.

    The Daily Beast logo
    All Aboard the USS Persecution Complex

    Candida Moss, Joel Baden

    October 19, 2014

  • Most of all, how could anyone film—or inflict upon viewers—such gratuitous, relentlessly grubby sexual content?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why ‘Girls’ Is Bad for Women

    Emma Woolf

    March 31, 2014

  • And with RT, these losers have a global platform through which they can inflict their psychoses on the rest of us.

  • Veterans groups called it unconscionable to inflict cuts of any kind on a force that has endured repeated deployments.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The H.M.O. That Kills Terrorists

    Eleanor Clift

    February 27, 2014

  • What possible punishment can the Dalai Lama, in this lifetime, inflict on the Chinese as they hasten the extinction of his people?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tibet’s Ticking Time Bomb

    Kapil Komireddi

    January 18, 2014

Historical Examples of inflict

British Dictionary definitions for inflict


verb (tr)

(often foll by on or upon) to impose (something unwelcome, such as pain, oneself, etc)
rare to cause to suffer; afflict (with)
to deal out (blows, lashes, etc)
Derived Formsinflictable, adjectiveinflicter or inflictor, nouninfliction, nouninflictive, adjective

Word Origin for inflict

C16: from Latin inflīgere to strike (something) against, dash against, from flīgere to strike
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 inflict

1560s, from Latin inflictus, past participle of infligere "to strike or dash against," from in- "on, against" (see in- (2)) + fligere (past participle flictus) "to dash, strike" (see afflict). You inflict trouble on someone; you afflict someone with trouble. Shame on you.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper