tr.v. in·flict·ed, in·flict·ing, in·flicts
1. To cause (something injurious or harmful), as to a person, group, or area: claws that inflicted a deep wound; an attack that inflicted heavy losses; a storm that inflicted widespread damage.
2. To force to undergo or experience (something unwanted): "the piano lessons he inflicted on his son" (Christopher Miller).
3. To deal or deliver (a blow, for example).
[Latin īnflīgere, īnflīct- : in-, on; see IN-2 + flīgere, to strike.]
in·flicter, in·flictor n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.