The noun anguish refers to severe physical or emotional pain or distress. A trip to the dentist might cause a cavity-prone person a lot of anguish.

We get this word from a Latin word, angustus, which literally meant "narrow" but developed the figurative sense of "distressed" — think of being choked off or forced into a small space. In modern times anguish has been in the English with the parallel and related meanings of "physical torment" and "emotional suffering." Both kinds might be experienced at the hands of a dentist who likes to make his patients squirm in agony.

Definitions of anguish

n extreme distress of body or mind

Type of:
a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)

n extreme mental distress

torment, torture
Type of:
distress, hurt, suffering
psychological suffering

v suffer great pains or distress

Type of:
experience (emotional) pain

v cause emotional anguish or make miserable

hurt, pain
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break someone's heart
cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
agonise, agonize
cause to agonize
give pain or trouble to
excruciate, rack, torment, torture
torment emotionally or mentally
Type of:
discomfit, discompose, disconcert, rattle, untune, upset
cause to lose one's composure

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