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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
gas/torture chamber (=used for killing people by gas or for hurting them)
▪ If the mental torture is always there, the physical hurt and threat is, for most, behind them.
▪ I could scarcely bear to watch the mental torture you put my daughter through that evening.
▪ The mental torture of that for Charlie would have been tremendous.
▪ Oh, they won't go for anything so crude as physical torture.
▪ The report also stated that physical and psychological torture was routinely used against those in police custody and in prison.
▪ It was as if we were locked in a torture chamber.
▪ She's just discovered you have a torture chamber here.
▪ Also patron of poverty and torture victims.
▪ Vanessa Redgrave plays a psychiatrist who runs a Portland, Ore., rehab center for torture victims from around the world.
▪ I told them I was a torture victim.
▪ In its young life here, Survivors International has treated some 400 torture victims from 39 countries.
▪ Mum was subjected to water torture for three weeks running.
▪ Barbara was subjected to heinous torture, yet reftised to disavow her faith.
▪ I hope you suffer torture until you die.
▪ This is a theoretical draw, but Timman may have to suffer several hours of torture before he can claim the half-point.
▪ Those people have suffered torture and all sorts of indignities and have missing family members.
▪ The prisoners in Mozdok are rumoured to suffer worse torture than in those in Chernokozovo.
▪ That would suggest that as long as one has the time and the means one can avoid having to use torture.
▪ The militias have been know to use torture to get people to confess.
▪ What torture parent's lectures are for children!
▪ Also patron of torture victims; he is invoked against foot trouble.
▪ Barbara was subjected to heinous torture, yet refused to disavow her faith.
▪ Heinz suggested that laws and constitutions of countries should be strengthened to make international declarations against torture into enforceable law.
▪ I never particularly relished torture, but I resigned myself to it when I arrived in Algiers...
▪ I should have been spared the torture of separation from my father during his last moments....
▪ Most of the reported deaths, however, were due to torture in both military barracks and police stations.
▪ They are not the reasons for the torture that I would be suffering in his place.
▪ At this time, his wife Yelva was tortured to death.
▪ Another has him tortured to death by having his intestines pulled from him by a windlass.
▪ She was raped and tortured to death.
▪ Her requests to inspect several detention centres where troops were alleged to have tortured prisoners were also ignored.
▪ So is the rape and torture of prisoners by prisoners.
▪ Hundreds of officers were arrested, tortured and executed.
▪ Regarded with suspicion by the police, such tribals are often arrested arbitrarily, tortured and stripped of their civil rights.
▪ Throughout the country, Mugabe supporters have beaten, tortured and murdered opposition members.
▪ Some will starve to death, others will die of exposure, still others will be beaten or burned or tortured.
▪ He is haunted by flashbacks of being beaten, tortured and buried alive, but they are fragmented memories.
▪ During the six and a half years of marriage, I was repeatedly beaten, terrorized, tortured and sexually molested.
▪ He is still tortured by memories of the attack.
▪ Several of the prisoners confirmed that they had been tortured.
▪ And perms, our straight hair tortured into frizz for the Christmas or Easter gathering and the requisite smiling photograph.
▪ Anticipated in December and enjoyed in January, February citrus can torture the souls of tree owners.
▪ He is drawn to the Ring and his thoughts are tortured by it.
▪ His jailers realized that his ransom would exceed those of the other prisoners, so Raymond was continuously tortured for preaching.
▪ Piotr Jaroszewicz, 83, had been strangled at home near Warsaw after apparently being tortured.
▪ When confronted with the messiah being humiliated, tortured and killed, Peter refuses to listen.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

torture \tor"ture\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. tortured (t[^o]r"t[-u]rd; 135); p. pr. & vb. n. tTorturing.] [Cf. F. Torturer. ]

  1. To put to torture; to pain extremely; to harass; to vex.

  2. To punish with torture; to put to the rack; as, to torture an accused person.

  3. To wrest from the proper meaning; to distort.
    --Jar. Taylor.

  4. To keep on the stretch, as a bow. [Obs.]

    The bow tortureth the string.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 15c., "contortion, twisting, distortion; a disorder characterized by contortion," from Old French torture "infliction of great pain; great pain, agony" (12c.), and directly from Late Latin tortura "a twisting, writhing," in Medieval Latin "pain inflicted by judicial or ecclesiastical authority as a means of punishment or persuasion," from stem of Latin torquere "to twist, turn, wind, wring, distort" (see torque (n.)). The meaning "infliction of severe bodily pain as a means of punishment or persuasion" in English is from 1550s. The theory behind judicial torture was that a guilty person could be made to confess, but an innocent one could not, by this means. Macaulay writes that it was last inflicted in England in May 1640.


1580s, from torture (n.). Related: Tortured; torturing.


n. 1 intentional causing of somebody's experiencing agony. 2 (context chiefly literary English) The "suffering of the heart" imposed by one on another, as in personal relationships. vb. (context transitive English) To intentionally inflict severe pain or suffering on (someone).

  1. v. torment emotionally or mentally [syn: torment, excruciate, rack]

  2. subject to torture; "The sinners will be tormented in Hell, according to the Bible" [syn: excruciate, torment]

  1. n. extreme mental distress [syn: anguish, torment]

  2. unbearable physical pain [syn: torment]

  3. intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain; "an agony of doubt"; "the torments of the damned" [syn: agony, torment]

  4. the act of distorting something so it seems to mean something it was not intended to mean [syn: distortion, overrefinement, straining, twisting]

  5. the act of torturing someone; "it required unnatural torturing to extract a confession" [syn: torturing]


Torture (from the Latin tortus, "twisted") is the act of deliberately inflicting physical or psychological pain on an organism in order to fulfill some desire of the torturer or compel some action from the victim. Torture, by definition, is a knowing and intentional act; deeds which unknowingly or negligently inflict pain without a specific intent to do so are not typically considered torture.

Torture has been carried out or sanctioned by individuals, groups, and states throughout history from ancient times to modern day, and forms of torture can vary greatly in duration from only a few minutes to several days or longer. Reasons for torture can include punishment, revenge, political re-education, deterrence, interrogation or coercion of the victim or a third party, or simply the sadistic gratification of those carrying out or observing the torture. The torturer may or may not intend to kill or injure the victim, but sometimes torture is deliberately fatal and can precede a murder or serve as a form of capital punishment. In other cases, the torturer may be indifferent to the condition of the victim. Alternatively, some forms of torture are designed to inflict psychological pain or leave as little physical injury or evidence as possible while achieving the same psychological devastation. Depending on the aim, even a form of torture that is intentionally fatal may be prolonged to allow the victim to suffer as long as possible (such as half-hanging).

Although torture was sanctioned by some states historically, it is prohibited under international law and the domestic laws of most countries, as developed in the mid-20th century. It is considered to be a violation of human rights, and is declared to be unacceptable by Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signatories of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977 officially agree not to torture captured persons in armed conflicts, whether international or internal. Torture is also prohibited by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which has been ratified by 158 countries. Although torture is universally condemned by all democratic nations, there have been many suspected or known instances of its sanctioned use - regardless of its legality. An example of this is the use of euphemistically-named enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding, known to have been used by the United States after the September 11 attacks.

National and international legal prohibitions on torture derive from a consensus that torture and similar ill-treatment are immoral, as well as impractical. Despite these international conventions, organizations that monitor abuses of human rights (e.g., Amnesty International, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, Freedom from Torture, etc.) report widespread use condoned by states in many regions of the world. Amnesty International estimates that at least 81 world governments currently practice torture, some of them openly. Historically, in those countries where torture was legally supported and officially condoned, wealthy patrons sponsored the creation of extraordinarily ingenious devices and techniques of torture.

Torture (journal)

Torture: Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture is a peer-reviewed medical journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture, published triannually by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

The journal is abstracted and indexed in MEDLINE/ PubMed. It was established in 1991 as Torture: Quarterly Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture and obtained its current title in 2004.

Torture (album)

Torture is the twelfth studio album by American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. The album was produced at Sonic Ranch Studios by Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan.

The album entered the US Billboard 200 at #38, selling 9,600 copies its first week.

Torture (disambiguation)

Torture or tortured may refer to:

  • Torture, the infliction of pain to break the will of the victim or victims
  • "Torture" (The Jacksons song), a song by the The Jackson 5 from their 1984 album Victory
  • "Torture" (John D. Loudermilk song), as song that was a hit for Kris Jensen and Petula Clark ("Coeur Blessé", French #1)
  • "Torture", a song by The Cure from their 1987 album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  • "Torture", a song by Method Man from his 1998 album Tical 2000: Judgement Day
  • "Torture", a song by Danny Brown from his 2013 album Old
  • "Torture" (Miyavi song), a song by Miyavi from his 2010 album What's My Name?
  • "Torture", a song by The Psychedelic Furs from Midnight to Midnight
  • "Tortured", a song by The Replacements from their 1990 album All Shook Down
  • Tortured, a 1997 album by Annette Ducharme
  • "Tortured", a song by Loverboy from their 1997 album Six
  • "Tortured", a song by OTEP from their 2002 album Sevas Tra
  • "Torture", a song by Cavalera Conspiracy from their 2011 album Blunt Force Trauma
  • Tortured (film), a 2008 film starring Laurence Fishburne
  • Torture (album), 2012 album by Cannibal Corpse
Torture (The Jacksons song)

"Torture" is the second single released off the album Victory by the band, The Jacksons. Written by Jackie Jackson and fellow Motown veteran Kathy Wakefield, the song is about someone ending a relationship and the torture that a person can receive while trying to end it. Jackie was originally going to sing the song with his brother, Michael, but Jackie's role instead went to Jermaine Jackson, whose availability for the album was in question until the last minute. The rest of the Jacksons sang the chorus along with Michael and Jermaine.

The song received mixed reactions from critics. The video was probably best known for Michael not being available, and the use of a wax dummy in his place throughout the video. Paula Abdul replaced Perri Lister as the video's choreographer, in which various scenes of torture are displayed with the Jacksons being on the receiving end of most of it. The shoot was an expensive and arduous affair that neither Michael nor Jermaine took part in, and it ultimately bankrupted the production company. The song peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the second best selling single on the album, behind " State of Shock". It also peaked at #26 on the UK charts.

Usage examples of "torture".

He broke free, releasing my achy breast to torture the other with the scrape of his teeth.

Daughter of Jove, relentless power, Thou tamer of the human breast, Whose iron scourge and torturing hour The bad affright, afflict the best!

Perhaps an extravagant fable of the times may conceal an allegorical picture of these fanatics, who tortured each other and themselves.

That evening, reproached by associates and tortured by ambivalence, he committed suicide.

And so, trapped in this ambivalent double bind, God tortures Schreber by producing in him the imperious urge to shit, while simultaneously denying him the ability to do so.

Till Barth returned, she tormented her tortured body with small yogic stretches.

We can now confirm that Basser Assad was present at Aleppo Four, apparently watching the rapings and torture from behind a two-way mirror.

The tortured beryllium yielded up neutrons, which shot out in all directions through the uranium mass.

Suspended by such a hair of frailty, for one breathless moment, on such a razor edged contingence, an entrancing sea of blessedness above, a horrible abyss of torture beneath, such should be the all concentrating anxiety to secure safety that there would be neither time nor taste for any thing else.

But the instincts of our common humanity indignantly remonstrate against the testing of clumsy or unimportant hypotheses by prodigal experimentation, or MAKING THE TORTURE OF ANIMALS AN EXHIBITION TO ENLARGE A MEDICAL SCHOOL, or for the entertainment of students--not one in fifty of whom can turn it to any profitable account.

He became an experimenter, and passed whole days in practising vivisections, TAKING PLEASURE IN THE CRIES, THE BLOOD, AND THE TORTURES OF THE POOR ANIMALS.

In both cases combat films, as opposed to torture and execution sequences, were found to have a marked hypotensive role, regulating blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rates to acceptable levels.

And proceeded to torture and kill Mactator and his family, and free a very large number of slaves, many of whom turned out to be of Italian Allied nationality, and therefore were illegally detained.

A youth of consular rank, and a sickly constitution, was punished, without a trial, like a malefactor and a slave: yet such was the constancy of his mind, that Photius sustained the tortures of the scourge and the rack, without violating the faith which he had sworn to Belisarius.

In her doubt as to how far the exchange of confidences between Cecily and Mallard was a possible thing, she tortured herself with picturing the progress of their intercourse at Rome, inventing chance encounters, imagining conversations.