see also: Anguish
  • enPR: ăngʹ-gwĭsh, IPA: /ˈæŋ.ɡwɪʃ/


  1. Extreme pain, either of body or mind; excruciating distress.
    • 1549, Hugh Latimer, "The Third Sermon Preached before King Edward VI:
      So, ye miserable people; you must go to God in anguishes, and make your prayer to him.
    • 1595/96, William Shakespeare, A Midsummer's Night Dream, Act V, sc. 1:
      Is there no play,
      To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, Fairie Queene, Book I, LIII:
      Love of your selfe, she saide, and deare constraint,
      Lets me not sleepe, but wast the wearie night
      In secret anguish and unpittied plaint,
      Whiles you in carelesse sleepe are drowned quight.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 6:9:
      But they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
    • 1700, John Dryden, Fables, Ancient and Modern, "Cinyras and Myrrha":
      There, loathing Life, and yet of Death afraid,
      In Anguish of her Spirit, thus she pray'd.
    • 1708, John Philips, Cyder, A Poem in Two Books, Book I:
      May I the sacred pleasures know
      Of strictest amity, nor ever want
      A friend with whom I mutually may share
      Gladness and anguish ...
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 18:
      She took his trembling hand, and kissed it, and put it round her neck: she called him her John—her dear John—her old man—her kind old man; she poured out a hundred words of incoherent love and tenderness; her faithful voice and simple caresses wrought this sad heart up to an inexpressible delight and anguish, and cheered and solaced his over-burdened soul.
    • 1892, Walt Whitman, The Leaves of Grass, "Old War-Dreams":
      In midnight sleep of many a face of anguish,
      Of the look at first of the mortally wounded, (of that indescribable
      Of the dead on their backs with arms extended wide,
      I dream, I dream, I dream.
Synonyms Translations Verb

anguish (anguishes, present participle anguishing; past and past participle anguished)

  1. (intransitive) To suffer pain.
    • 1900s, Kl. Knigge, Iceland Folk Song, traditional, Harmony: H. Ruland
      We’re leaving these shores for our time has come, the days of our youth must now end. The hearts bitter anguish, it burns for the home that we’ll never see again.
  2. (transitive) To cause to suffer pain.
  • German: sich quälen, leiden
  • Italian: angosciarsi
  • Portuguese: angustiar-se
  • Russian: терза́ться
  • Spanish: angustiar (pronominal)
Proper noun
  1. Surname
    • 1698 December 29, record from Thorington, printed in 1884 Thomas Smythe Hill, The registers of the parish of Thorington, page 56:
      Edmund Anguish of Somerleighton
    • 1907, Canadian Bee Journal, volumes 15-16, page 70:
      By request, Mr. Anguish, who is an expert on comb honey, was asked to give some points on its production: Mr. Anguish uses a divisible brood chamber. […]
    • 1919, House Journal of the Legislature of the State of Washington, page 548:
      On motion of Mr. Anguish, the House concurred in the Senate amendments to House Bill No. 115 by the following vote: Those voting yea were: Representatives Adams (Wm. H.), Adamson, Allen, Anderson (W. M.), Anguish, Aspinwall, Atkinson […]
  2. (rare) A male given name
    • 1819, Durant v Titley, in the Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of Exchequer (1835), edited by Francis Joseph Troubat, George Price, page 231:
      […] been ready and willing to take one of the children by her husband, not being the eldest, to live with her; and that she did afterwards fix upon one of such children, named Anguish, and did request her husband to permit the said child to reside and live with her, […] and the defendant futher pleaded, that the said Anguish, the said child in the said declaration mentioned was not born at the time of the sealing and delivering of the said indenture, but long afterwards.

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