grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering.
an instance of this; an affliction, trouble, etc.

Origin of tribulation

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin trībulātiōn- (stem of trībulātiō) distress, trouble, equivalent to trībulāt(us) (past participle of trībulāre to press, squeeze, derivative of trībulum threshing sledge, equivalent to trī-, variant stem of terere to rub, crush + -bulum noun suffix of instrument) + -iōn- -ion

Synonyms for tribulation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tribulation

Contemporary Examples of tribulation

  • The rest of them would be left behind for a period of tribulation that was going to end five months later—on October 21, 2011.

    The Daily Beast logo
    8 Questions About the New Rapture

    David A. Graham

    October 20, 2011

  • But there are those who believe that humans have a role to play in the Tribulation.

    The Daily Beast logo
    When Christianity Turns Violent

    Brenda E. Brasher

    April 1, 2010

  • For those holding these beliefs, the main curb to violent action rests in their understanding of how the Tribulation begins.

    The Daily Beast logo
    When Christianity Turns Violent

    Brenda E. Brasher

    April 1, 2010

Historical Examples of tribulation

  • And the leader of the party wore the wrinkled brow of tribulation.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • In joy or in pain, in happiness or in tribulation—gratitude!

    The Golden Fountain

    Lilian Staveley

  • My heart makes a noise in me for my country, but the day of her tribulation is near.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • That psalms of tribulation be sung with a low voice and long measure; 2.

    The Standard Oratorios

    George P. Upton

  • It had brought to her nothing but tribulation and disappointment.

    Miss Mackenzie

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for tribulation



a cause of distress
a state of suffering or distress

Word Origin for tribulation

C13: from Old French, from Church Latin trībulātiō, from Latin trībulāre to afflict, from trībulum a threshing board, from terere to rub
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 tribulation

early 13c., from Old French tribulacion (12c.), from Late Latin tribulationem (nominative tribulatio) "distress, trouble, affliction" (c.200), from tribulatus, past participle of tribulare "to oppress, afflict," a figurative use by Christian writers of Latin tribulare "to press," also possibly "to thresh out grain," from tribulum "threshing sledge," from stem of terere "to rub" (see throw (v.)) + -bulum, suffix forming names of tools.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper