[ verb tawr-ment, tawr-ment; noun tawr-ment ]
See synonyms for: tormenttormentedtormenting on

verb (used with object)
  1. to afflict with great bodily or mental suffering; pain: to be tormented with violent headaches.

  2. to worry or annoy excessively: to torment one with questions.

  1. to throw into commotion; stir up; disturb.

  1. a state of great bodily or mental suffering; agony; misery.

  2. something that causes great bodily or mental pain or suffering.

  1. a source of much trouble, worry, or annoyance.

  2. an instrument of torture, as the rack or the thumbscrew.

  3. the infliction of torture by means of such an instrument or the torture so inflicted.

Origin of torment

First recorded in 1250–1300; (noun) Middle English, from Old French, from Latin tormentum “rope, catapult, torture,” from unattested torkw-ment- (see torque, -ment); (verb) Middle English tormenten, from Old French tormenter, derivative of torment (compare Late Latin tormentāre)

synonym study For torment

1. Torment , rack , torture suggest causing great physical or mental pain, suffering, or harassment. To torment is to afflict or harass as by incessant repetition of vexations or annoyances: to be tormented by doubts. To 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. To torture is to afflict with acute and more or less protracted suffering: to torture one by keeping one in suspense.

Other words for torment

Opposites for torment

Other words from torment

  • tor·ment·ed·ly, adverb
  • tor·ment·ing·ly, adverb
  • tor·ment·ing·ness, noun
  • un·tor·ment·ed, adjective
  • un·tor·ment·ing, adjective
  • un·tor·ment·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use torment in a sentence

  • I am a dawn riser, more prone to tormenting the early shift with headline changes than the late-nighters.

    The Daily Beast Turns 2! | Tina Brown | October 5, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Charles Duran, who was out of his element when he was not in mischief, seemed to take delight in tormenting these little children.

    Charles Duran | The Author of The Waldos
  • I will not have you hunting and tormenting those kangaroo rats to-day.

  • This restless and tormenting passion for gold punishes them for aiming at other advantages by love than love itself.

  • But wishing to break the tormenting chain of ideas, the doctor went out into the kitchen.

  • Some of the supers jabbed me pretty hard, among them Babe Durgon, who delighted in tormenting me.

    The Iron Puddler | James J. Davis

British Dictionary definitions for torment


verb(tɔːˈmɛnt) (tr)
  1. to afflict with great pain, suffering, or anguish; torture

  2. to tease or pester in an annoying way: stop tormenting the dog

  1. physical or mental pain

  2. a source of pain, worry, annoyance, etc

  1. archaic an instrument of torture

  2. archaic the infliction of torture

Origin of torment

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

Derived forms of torment

  • tormented, adjective
  • tormentedly, adverb
  • tormenting, adjective, noun
  • tormentingly, adverb

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