anguish

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
  1. noun
    extreme distress of body or mind
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    type of:
    distress
    a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)
  2. noun
    extreme mental distress
    synonyms: torment, torture
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    type of:
    distress, hurt, suffering
    psychological suffering
  3. verb
    suffer great pains or distress
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    type of:
    suffer
    experience (emotional) pain
  4. verb
    cause emotional anguish or make miserable
    synonyms: hurt, pain
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    types:
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    break someone's heart
    cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
    agonise, agonize
    cause to agonize
    try
    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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