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 inflicting

Contemporary Examples of inflicting

Historical Examples of inflicting

  • And in many cases they succeed in inflicting a good deal of pain.

  • Richling, in the self-occupation of a lover, forgot what pains he might be inflicting.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • I ask pardon for inflicting something like a sermon upon you.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • You are too generous to give pain: spare me, then, the suffering of inflicting it on you.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • And Andrea then fully realised the pain he was inflicting on this man's soul.

    The Child of Pleasure

    Gabriele D'Annunzio

British Dictionary definitions for inflicting


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 inflicting



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