Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A condition of pain, suffering, or distress. See Synonyms at trial.
  • n. A cause of pain, suffering, or distress. See Synonyms at burden1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A state of pain, suffering, distress or agony.
  • n. Something which causes pain, suffering, distress or agony.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, etc.; an instance of grievous distress; a pain or grief.
  • n. The state of being afflicted; a state of pain, distress, or grief.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being afflicted; a state of pain, distress, or grief.
  • n. A cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, loss, calamity, adversity, persecution, etc.
  • n. Synonyms Affliction, Grief, Sorrow, Sadness, Distress, Misery, Wretchedness, pain. Affliction is acute, continued suffering caused by loss or its consequences. That is an affliction which is a severe deprivation or loss, as of health, limbs, faculties, friends, or the property necessary to one's support; not temporary ailments, nor losses easily borne or repaired. Grief is mental suffering too violent to be long continued, and therefore subsiding into sorrow or sadness; it is always in view of something recently past. Affliction is a personal matter; grief may be over another's woe. Sorrow, though more quiet, may be long continued or permanent (as, a lifelong sorrow), and may be in view of the past, present, or future; it may be active penitence for wrong-doing, as sorrow for sin, or it may be wholly sympathetic. Sadness is a feeling of dejection or inability to be cheerful, the cause being not always a matter of consciousness; it is primarily personal, and is of various degrees of depth and permanence. Distress is extreme adversity, and, subjectively, the corresponding state of mind; it is the agitation appropriate to circumstances well-nigh desperate. It may be wholly sympathetic, as the distress caused by calamity to another, and it may imply a struggle. The first five words may be freely used for either cause or effect; misery and wretchedness denote generally only the effect, that is, the state of feeling. Misery is great and unremitting pain of body or mind, unhappiness that crushes the spirit. Wretchedness is sometimes almost identical with misery, and sometimes goes beyond it, even to abjectness. See calamity.
  • n. Trouble, misfortune, disaster, visitation, blow, trial, woe, tribulation. See list under grief.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a cause of great suffering and distress
  • n. a state of great suffering and distress due to adversity
  • n. a condition of suffering or distress due to ill health

Etymologies

From Old French afliction, from Latin afflictio, from affligere. See afflict. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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