Something is traumatic if it's very upsetting, painful, or disturbing. The word is related to a Greek word meaning "wound," so you can think of traumatic as something involving a wound, either physical or mental.

Your brother's reckless driving could make getting to school a traumatic experience in terms of your mental health. Traumatic can also describe a major physical injury, such as a traumatic brain injury. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a medical term used to describe the lasting and debilitating effects of something awful you've experienced, such as witnessing a disaster or suffering a major injury during combat.

Definitions of traumatic

adj psychologically painful;"few experiences are more traumatic than losing a child";

causing physical or psychological pain

adj of or relating to a physical injury or wound to the body

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