inflict, afflict
Both words are concerned with the suffering of unpleasant circumstances, but they have different constructions. Inflict has the unpleasantness as object, and afflict has the victim:

• He knew also that the greater part of the ills which had afflicted him were due, indirectly, in chief measure to the influence of Christian teaching —S. Butler, 1903

• It was he who had inflicted an appendectomy of doubtful necessity on Harry forty-two years ago —R. Goddard, 1990

• For rain in summer is the mortal enemy of the serious punter, a plague as bad as any of those which afflicted ancient Egypt —Scotland on Sunday, 2007.

Afflict is often used in the passive, followed by with or by:

• Most commanders would have been afflicted with convenient deafness at that moment, but Davout rounded on the speaker at once —R. Butters, 1991

• Campbell recalls never having heard his boss afflicted by such ‘long pauses and gabbling’ before or since —Sunday Times, 2007.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Afflict — Af*flict , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Afflicted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Afflicting}.] [L. afflictus, p. p. of affigere to cast down, deject; ad + fligere to strike: cf. OF. aflit, afflict, p. p. Cf. {Flagellate}.] 1. To strike or cast down; to overthrow.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • afflict — afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict upon a person something which he finds hard to bear. Something or someone that causes pain, disability, suffering, acute annoyance, irritation, or embarrassment may be said to afflict a person… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Afflict — Af*flict , p. p. & a. [L. afflictus, p. p.] Afflicted. [Obs.] Becon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • afflict — I verb agonize, anguish, assault, bruise, burden, chasten, discommode, discompose, disquiet, distress, grate, harm, hurt, impair, infect, inflict, irritate, mistreat, pain, plague, punish, rasp, sicken, smite, strike, victimize II index affront,… …   Law dictionary

  • afflict — (v.) late 14c., to cast down, from O.Fr. aflicter, from L. afflictare to damage, harass, torment, frequentative of affligere (pp. afflictus) to dash down, overthrow, from ad to (see AD (Cf. ad )) + fligere (pp. flictus) to strike, from PIE …   Etymology dictionary

  • afflict — [v] cause or become hurt agonize, annoy, beset, bother, burden, crucify, distress, grieve, harass, harrow, harry, irk, lacerate, martyr, oppress, pain, pester, plague, press, rack, smite, strike, torment, torture, trouble, try, vex, worry, wound; …   New thesaurus

  • afflict — ► VERB ▪ cause pain or suffering to. DERIVATIVES affliction noun. ORIGIN Latin afflictare knock about, harass , or affligere knock down, weaken …   English terms dictionary

  • afflict — [ə flikt′] vt. [< L afflictare, to injure, vex < afflictus, pp. of affligere, to strike down < ad , to + fligere: see INFLICT] 1. to cause pain or suffering to; distress very much 2. Obs. to overthrow …   English World dictionary

  • afflict — transitive verb Etymology: Middle English, from Latin afflictus, past participle of affligere to cast down, from ad + fligere to strike more at profligate Date: 14th century 1. obsolete a. humble b. overthrow …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • afflict — [14] When it originally entered English, afflict meant ‘overthrow’, reflecting its origins in Latin afflīgere ‘throw down’, a compound verb formed from the prefix ad ‘to’ and flīgere ‘strike’. English afflict comes either from the Latin past… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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