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excruciating or acute distress, suffering, or pain:
the anguish of grief.
to inflict with distress, suffering, or pain.
to suffer, feel, or exhibit anguish:
to anguish over the loss of a loved one.
Contemporary Examples

I think what we have seen in terms of gay teenagers committing suicide because of bullying is anguishing.
Kevin Spacey on Casino Jack Kevin Sessums December 13, 2010

But there’s a serious point here, and it extends well beyond the anguishing question of sexual assault.
Let’s Get Real About Abortions David Frum October 28, 2012

For all its anguishing, the Court is actually a bit-player here.
Can Government Call the Shots on Cellphone Privacy? Aziz Huq April 29, 2014

Historical Examples

We resumed our seats, but had hardly done so, when a deep and most anguishing groan was heard, that pierced our very hearts.
Caxton’s Book: A Collection of Essays, Poems, Tales, and Sketches. W. H. Rhodes

And, most anguishing of all, there was no chance that there was a mistake.
The Road to Understanding Eleanor H. Porter

An anguishing desire for the safe and wholesome Present usurped all this mad yearning to obtain the Past.
Incredible Adventures Algernon Blackwood

The wild steed sought to fling up his head to shake off this anguishing weight of seventy odd pounds.
Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune

Our audiences, as you will have gathered, were often critical folk who could sit with dry eyes through our most anguishing scenes.
The Secrets of a Savoyard Henry A. Lytton

Winnie’s sweet and trusting faith in him filled him with an anguishing shame.
Frank Merriwell’s Reward Burt L. Standish

extreme pain or misery; mental or physical torture; agony
to afflict or be afflicted with anguish

c.1200, “acute bodily or mental suffering,” from Old French anguisse, angoisse “choking sensation, distress, anxiety, rage,” from Latin angustia (plural angustiae) “tightness, straitness, narrowness;” figuratively “distress, difficulty,” from ang(u)ere “to throttle, torment” (see anger (v.)).

early 14c., intransitive and reflexive; mid-14c., transitive, from Old French anguissier (Modern French angoisser), from anguisse (see anguish (n.)). Related: Anguished; anguishing.


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