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

    see moresee less

    type of:


    a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)

  2. noun

    extreme mental distress

    torment, torture
    see moresee less

    type of:

    distress, hurt, suffering

    psychological suffering

  3. verb

    suffer great pains or distress

    see moresee less

    type of:


    experience (emotional) pain

  4. verb

    cause emotional anguish or make miserable

    hurt, pain
    see moresee less


    show 4 types…
    hide 4 types…
    break someone’s heart

    cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
    agonise, agonize

    cause to agonize

    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

Word Family