[verb tawr-ment, tawr-ment; noun tawr-ment]

verb (used with object)


Origin of torment

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English < Old French < Latin tormentum rope, catapult, torture < *torkw-ment- (see torque, -ment); (v.) Middle English tormenten < Old French tormenter, derivative of torment (compare Late Latin tormentāre)
Related formstor·ment·ed·ly, adverbtor·ment·ing·ly, adverbtor·ment·ing·ness, nounun·tor·ment·ed, adjectiveun·tor·ment·ing, adjectiveun·tor·ment·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for torment

1. harry, hector, vex, distress, agonize. T orment , rack , torture suggest causing great physical or mental pain, suffering, or harassment. T o torment is to afflict or harass as by incessant repetition of vexations or annoyances: to be tormented by doubts. T o rack is to affect with such pain as that suffered by one stretched on a rack; to concentrate with painful effort: to rack one's brains. T o torture is to afflict with acute and more or less protracted suffering: to torture one by keeping one in suspense. 2. plague, pester, tease, provoke, needle, trouble, fret. 4. torture, distress, anguish.

Antonyms for torment

1. please. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for torment

Contemporary Examples of torment

Historical Examples of torment

  • You've come to torment us before the time; do cease this noise!

  • The torment was far too racking for such futile fashion of lamentation.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It seemed to relieve the tension drawn by the other woman's torment.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • From the top of the narrow staircase to the foot, and he had lived a year's torment!


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The reply of the young man was merely a brief mention of the place of torment.

British Dictionary definitions for torment


verb (tɔːˈmɛnt) (tr)

to afflict with great pain, suffering, or anguish; torture
to tease or pester in an annoying waystop tormenting the dog

noun (ˈtɔːmɛnt)

physical or mental pain
a source of pain, worry, annoyance, etc
archaic an instrument of torture
archaic the infliction of torture
Derived Formstormented, adjectivetormentedly, adverbtormenting, adjective, nountormentingly, adverb

Word Origin for torment

C13: from Old French, from Latin tormentum, from torquēre
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 torment

late 13c., "inflicting of torture," also "state of great suffering," from Old French tourment (11c.), from Latin tormentum "twisted sling, rack," related to torquere "to twist" (see thwart).


late 13c., from Old French tormenter (12c.), from Latin tormentare, from tormentum (see torment (n.)). Related: Tormented; tormenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper