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:

  • Inflict — In*flict , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Inflicted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Inflicting}.] [L. inflictus, p. p. of infligere to strike on, to inflict; pref. in in, on + fligere to strike. Cf. {Flail}.] To give, cause, or produce by striking, or as if by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inflict — I verb administer a penalty, administer punishment, agitate, agonize, apply, beset, bring about, bring upon, burden, cause, cause to suffer, coerce, commit, deal, disquiet, distress, enforce, force, force upon, give pain, harass, harm, hurt,… …   Law dictionary

  • inflict — (v.) 1560s, from L. inflictus, pp. of infligere to strike or dash against, from in on, against (see IN (Cf. in ) (2)) + fligere (pp. flictus) to dash, strike (see AFFLICT (Cf. afflict)). You inflict trouble on someone; you af …   Etymology dictionary

  • inflict — ► VERB (inflict on) 1) cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by. 2) impose (something unwelcome) on. DERIVATIVES infliction noun. ORIGIN Latin infligere strike against …   English terms dictionary

  • inflict — [v] impose something administer, apply, bring upon, command, deal out, deliver, dispense, exact, expose, extort, force, force upon, give, give it to*, lay down the law*, levy, mete out, require, stick it to*, strike, subject, visit, wreak;… …   New thesaurus

  • inflict — [in flikt′] vt. [< L inflictus, pp. of infligere, to strike or beat against < in , on, against + fligere, to strike < IE base * bhlīg̑ , to strike > Welsh blif, catapult] 1. to give or cause (pain, wounds, etc.) by or as by striking;… …   English World dictionary

  • inflict — 01. Our army has [inflicted] heavy casualties on the enemy. 02. She thinks that hunters should be forbidden from [inflicting] suffering upon animals for sport. 03. When parrots are caged for a long time, the boredom can drive them crazy, with the …   Grammatical examples in English

  • inflict — UK [ɪnˈflɪkt] / US verb [transitive] Word forms inflict : present tense I/you/we/they inflict he/she/it inflicts present participle inflicting past tense inflicted past participle inflicted to cause something unpleasant to happen Such a policy… …   English dictionary

  • inflict — v. (D; tr.) to inflict on (to inflict heavy losses on the enemy) * * * [ɪn flɪkt] (D;tr.) to inflict on (to inflict heavy losses on the enemy) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • inflict — in|flict [ınˈflıkt] v [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: , past participle of infligere, from fligere to hit ] 1.) [T] to make someone suffer something unpleasant inflict sth on/upon sb ▪ The strikes inflicted serious damage on the economy. ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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