[ in-flikt ]
See synonyms for: inflictinflictedinflicts on

verb (used with object)
  1. to impose as something that must be borne or suffered: to inflict punishment.

  2. to impose (anything unwelcome): The regime inflicted burdensome taxes on the people.

  1. to deal or deliver, as a blow.

Origin of inflict

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin inflīctus, past participle of inflīgere “to strike or dash against,” equivalent to in- “in” + flīg- (stem of flīgere “to beat down”) + -tus past participle suffix; see in-2

Other words from inflict

  • in·flict·a·ble, adjective
  • in·flict·er, in·flic·tor, noun
  • in·flic·tive, adjective
  • pre·in·flict, verb (used with object)
  • un·in·flict·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with inflict Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use inflict in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inflict


/ (ɪnˈflɪkt) /

  1. (often foll by on or upon) to impose (something unwelcome, such as pain, oneself, etc)

  2. rare to cause to suffer; afflict (with)

  1. to deal out (blows, lashes, etc)

Origin of inflict

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

Derived forms of inflict

  • inflictable, adjective
  • inflicter or inflictor, noun
  • infliction, noun
  • inflictive, adjective

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