Definitions

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

  • n. Great affliction, trial, or distress; suffering: Their tribulation has finally passed. See Synonyms at trial.
  • n. An experience that tests one's endurance, patience, or faith. See Synonyms at burden1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any adversity; a trying period or event.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which occasions distress, trouble, or vexation; severe affliction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A state of affliction or oppression; suffering; distress.
  • n. A cause or occasion of suffering; a trouble or trial.
  • n. A troublesome or lawless person; also, such persons collectively; colloquially, a trial; a terror.

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

  • n. an annoying or frustrating or catastrophic event

Etymologies

Middle English tribulacioun, from Old French tribulacion, from Latin trībulātiō, trībulātiōn-, from trībulātus, past participle of trībulāre, to oppress, from Latin trībulum, threshing-sledge; see terə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English tribulation, from Old French tribulacion, from Late Latin tribulatio ("distress, trouble, tribulation, affliction"), from tribulare ("to press, probably also thresh out grain"), from tribulum ("a sledge consisting of a wooden block studded with sharp pieces of flint or with iron teeth, used for threshing grain"), from terere ("to rub"); see trite. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • William Chambers wrote in his Edinburgh Journal in 1840: "It seems mankind are forever destined to live under some alarming apprehension ... at every interval of three, four, or five years, the community is plunged into the greatest tribulation from the number of bankruptcies and general mercantile stagnation, while ruin stares everyone in the face."

    Britain's Economic Performance

  • And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress.

    Islam: Myth and Reality

  • The word tribulation means calamity, or suffering.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • Then they saw the need of delay, before completely punishing the wicked, to give space for repentance, or else for accumulation of wrath (Ro 2: 15); and before completely rewarding the godly, to give room for faith and perseverance in tribulation (Ps 92: 7-12).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • If our "hope" of glory is so assured that it is a rejoicing hope, we shall find the spirit of "endurance in tribulation" natural and easy; but since it is "prayer" which strengthens the faith that begets hope and lifts it up into an assured and joyful expectancy, and since our patience in tribulation is fed by this, it will be seen that all depends on our "perseverance in prayer."

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Philadelphia alone of the seven are honored with unmixed praise, as faithful in tribulation and rich in good works.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Perhaps his companions in tribulation insulted over him, because he had often been disappointed of a cure; therefore Christ took him for his patient: it is his honour to side with the weakest, and bear up those whom he sees run down.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • Christ put into a crown; so much did he alter the property of them to them that are his, giving them cause to glory in tribulation, and making it to work for them a weight of glory.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • Those who through grace can glory in tribulation ought to glorify God in tribulation, and give him thanks for their comforts, which abound as their afflictions do abound.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • They were such as he had an intimate acquaintance with, being not only their countryman, but their companion in tribulation; they and he were fellow-sufferers, and had lately been fellow-travellers, in very melancholy circumstances, from Judea to Babylon, and had often mingled their tears, which could not but knit their affections to each other.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

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