1. Great physical pain or mental anguish.
2. A source of harassment, annoyance, or pain.
3. The torture inflicted on prisoners under interrogation.
tr.v. (tôr-mĕnt, tôrmĕnt′) tor·ment·ed, tor·ment·ing, tor·ments
1. To cause to undergo great physical pain or mental anguish. See Synonyms at afflict.
2. To annoy, pester, or harass: tormented by the children's pleas to be taken to the mall.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin tormentum, from torquēre, to twist; see terkw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.