throes

Did your team just lose the Super Bowl or the World Series? You're probably in the throes of despair — experiencing intense feelings of suffering and agitation.

Although we normally associate the throes of some emotion or physical sensation to be an unpleasant state, that's not always the case. Some throes teeter on the borderline between delight and despair. Check out Bernini's sculpture in Rome of St. Theresa in the throes of spiritual ecstasy. Is she terrified or thrilled? Impossible to separate the two. She's in the throes.

Definitions of throes
  1. noun
    violent pangs of suffering
    “death throes
    see moresee less
    type of:
    hurt, suffering
    feelings of mental or physical pain
Word Family
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