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may take place either by degrees, or by an instantaneous act straining of the eyes impairs the sight, but a blow injures rather than impairs the eye. A man's health may be impaired or injured by his vices, but his abs are injured rather than impaired by a fall. A person's circumstances are impaired by a succession of misfortunes; they are injured by a sudden turn of fortune. The same distinction is preserved in their figurative application; It is painful to consider that this sublime enjoyment of friendship may be impaired by innumerable causes.' JOHNSON.

Who lives to nature rarely can be poor,

O what a patrimony this! a being

Of such inherent strength and majesty,
Not worlds possest can raise it; worlds destroy'd
Can't injure. YOUNG.



Imminent, in Latin imminens, from in and maneo to remain, signifies resting or coming upon; impending, from the Latin pendeo to hang, signifies hanging; threatening is used in the sense of the verb to threaten.


All these terms are used in regard to some evil that is exceedingly near: imminent conveys no idea of duration; impending excludes the idea of what is momentary. A person may be in imminent danger of losing his life in one instant, and the danger may be over the next instant: but an impending danger is that which has been long in existence, and gradually approaching; There was an opinion, if we may believe the Spanish historians, almost universal among the Americans, that some dreadful calamity was impending over their heads.' ROBERTSON. We can seldom escape imminent danger by any efforts of one's own; but we may be successfully warned to escape from an impending danger. Imminent and impending are said of dangers that are not discoverable; but a threatening evil gives intimations of its own approach; we perceive the threatening tempest in the blackness of the sky; we hear the threatening sounds of the enemy's clashing swords; The threatening voice and fierce gestures with which these words were uttered, struck Montezuma. He saw his own danger was imminent, the necessity unavoidable.' ROBERTSON.


Threat is of Saxon origin; menace is of Latin extraction. They do not differ in signification; but, as is frequently the case, the Saxon is the familiar term, and the Latin word is employed only in the higher style. We may be threatened with either small or great evils; but we are menaced only with great evils. One individual threatens to strike another: a general menaces the enemy with an attack. We are threatened by things as well as persons: we

are menaced by persons only; a person is threatened with a look; he is menaced with a prosecution by his adversary;

By turns put on the suppliant and the lord; Threaten'd this moment, and the next implor'd. PRIOR.

Of the sharp axe Regardless, that o'er his devoted head Hangs menacing. SOMERVILLE.


Evil in its full sense comprehends every quality which is not good, and consequently the other terms express only modifications of evil.

The word is however more limited in its application than its meaning, and admits therefore of a just comparison with the other words here mentioned. They are all taken in the sense of evils produced by some external cause, or evils inherent in the object and arising out of it. The evil, or, in its contracted form, the ill, befalls a person; the misfortune comes upon him; the harm is taken, or he receives the harm; the mischief is done him. Evil in its limited application is taken for evils of the greatest magnitude; it is that which is evil without any mitigation or qualification of circumstances. The misfortune is a minor evil; it individual; what is a misfortune in one respect may depends upon the opinion and circumstances of the be the contrary in another respect. An untimely death, the fracture or loss of a limb, are denominated evils; the loss of a vessel, the overturning of a carriage, and the like, are misfortunes, inasmuch as they tend to the diminution of property; but as all the casualties of life may produce various consequences, it may sometimes happen that that which seems to have come upon us by our ill fortune turns out ultimately misfortune is but a partial evil: of evil it is likewise of the greatest benefit; in this respect, therefore, the observable, that it has no respect to the sufferer as a moral agent; but misfortune is used in regard to such things as are controllable or otherwise by human foresight;

Misfortune stands with her bow ever bent
Over the world; and he who wounds another,
Directs the goddess by that part where he wounds
There to strike deep her arrows in himself. YOUNG.

The evil which befalls a man is opposed only to the good which he in general experiences; but the misfortune is opposed to the good fortune or the prudence of the individual. Sickness is an evil, let it be endured or caused by whatever circumstances it may; it is a misfortune for an individual to come in the way of having this evil brought on himself: his own relative condition in the scale of being is here referred to.

The harm and mischief are species of minor evils; the former of which is much less specific than the latter both in the nature and cause of the evil. A person takes harm from circumstances that are not

known; the mischief is done to him from some positive and immediate circumstance. He who takes cold takes harm; the cause of which, however, may not be known or suspected: a fall from a horse is attended with mischief, if it occasion a fracture or any evil to the body. Evil and misfortune respect persons only as the objects; harm and mischief are said of inanimate things as the object. A tender plant takes harm from being exposed to the cold air: mischief is done to it when its branches are violently broken off or its roots are laid bare.

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pany is pernicious to the morals; or the doctrines of freethinkers are pernicious to the well-being of society;

The hurtful hazel in thy vineyard shun. DRYDEN. That which is pernicious necessarily tends to destruction confinement is hurtful to the health: bad com

Of strength, pernicious to myself, I boast,

The powers I have were given me to my cost. LEWIS. Noxious and noisome are species of the hurtful: things may be hurtful both to body and mind; noxious and noisome only to the body: that which is noxious inflicts a direct injury;

The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field,
Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes,
And hairy mane, terrific, though to thee
Not noxious, but obedient at thy call. MILTON.

That which is noisome inflicts the injury indirectly: noxious insects are such as wound; noisome vapors are such as tend to create disorders;

The only prison that enslaves the soul
Is the dark habitation, where she dwells
As in a noisome dungeon. BELLINGHAM.

Ireland is said to be free from every noxious weed or animal; where filth is brought together, there will always be noisome smells.


Calamity, in French calamité, Latin calamitas, from calamus a stalk; because hail or whatever injured the stalks of corn was termed a calamity; disaster, in French désastre, is compounded of the privative des or dis and astre, in Latin astrum a star, signifying what came from the adverse influence of the stars; misfortune, mischance, and mishap, naturally express what comes amiss.

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The idea of a painful event is common to all these terms, but they differ in the degree of importance.

A calamity is a great disaster or misfortune; a misfortune a great mischance or mishap: whatever is attended with destruction is a calamity; whatever occasions mischief to the person, defeats or interrupts plans, is a disaster; whatever is accompanied with a loss of property, or the deprivation of health, is a misfortune; whatever diminishes the beauty or utility of objects is a mischance or mishap: the devastation of a country by hurricanes or earthquakes, or the desolation of its inhabitants by famine or plague, are great calamities; the overturning of a carriage, or the fracture of a limb, are disasters; losses in trade are misfortunes; the spoiling of a book is, to a greater or less extent, a mischance or mishap.


A calamity seldom arises from the direct agency of man; the elements, or the natural course of things, are mostly concerned in producing this source of misery to men; the rest may be ascribed to chance, as distinguished from design; They observed that several blessings had degenerated into calamities, and that several calamities had improved into blessings, according as they fell into the possession of wise or foolish men.' ADDISON. Disasters mostly arise from

some specific known cause, either the carelessness of persons, or the unfitness of things for their use; as they generally serve to derange some preconcerted scheme or undertaking, they seem as if they were produced by some secret influence;

There in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school:
A man severe he was, and stern to view,

I knew him well, and every truant knew. Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace The day's disasters in his morning face. GOLDSMITH. Misfortune is frequently assignable to no specific cause, it is the bad fortune of an individual; a link in the chain of his destiny; an evil independent of himself, as distinguished from a fault; She daily exercises her benevolence by pitying every misfortune that happens to every family within her circle of notice.' JOHNSON. Mischance and mishap are misfortunes of comparatively so trivial a nature, that it would not be worth while to inquire into their cause, or to dwell upon their consequences;

Permit thy daughter, Gracious Jove, to tell, How this mischance the Cyprian Queen befell. POPE. For pity's sake tells undeserv'd mishaps, And their applause to gain, recounts his claps. CHURCHILL. A calamity is dreadful; a disaster melancholy; a mis-· fortune grievous or heavy; a mischance or mishap slight or trivial.

A calamity is either public or private, but more frequently the former: a disaster is rather particular than private; it affects things rather than persons; journeys, expeditions, and military movements, are commonly attended with disasters: misfortunes are altogether personal; they immediately affect the interests of the individual: mischances and mishaps are altogether domestic. We speak of a calamitous period, a disastrous expedition, an unfortunate person, little mischances or mishaps.

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Distress is not peculiar to any age, where there is a consciousness of good and evil, pain and pleasure; it will inevitably arise from some circumstance or another. Anxiety, anguish, and agony, belong to riper years: infancy and childhood are deemed the happy periods of human existence; because they are exempt from the anxieties attendant on every one who has a station to fill, and duties to discharge. Anguish and agony are species of distress, of the severer kind, which spring altogether from the maturity of reflection, and the full consciousness of evil. A child is in distress when it loses its mother, and the mother is also in distress when she misses her child. The station of a parent is, indeed, that which is most productive, not only of distress, but anxiety, anguish, and agony: the mother has her peculiar anxieties for the child, whilst rearing it in its infant state: the father has his anxiety for its welfare on its entrance

into the world: they both suffer the deepest anguish when the child disappoints their dearest hopes, by running a career of vice, and finishing its wicked course by an untimely, and sometimes ignominious end: not unfrequently they are doomed to suffer the agony of seeing a child encircled in flames from which he cannot be snatched, or sinking into a watery grave from which he cannot be rescued.


Distress, v. Distress; harass, in French harasser, probably from the Greek párow to beat; perplex, in Latin perplexus, participle of perplector, compounded of per and plector, signifies to wind round and entangle.

A person is distressed either in his outward circumstances or his feelings; he is harassed mentally or corporeally; he is perplexed in his understanding, more than in his feelings: a deprivation distresses; provocations and hostile measures harass; stratagems and ambiguous measures perplex: a besieged town is distressed by the cutting off its resources of water and provisions;

O friend! Ulysses' shouts invade my ear; Distress'd he seems, and no assistance near. POPE. The besieged in a town are harassed by perpetual attacks; Persons who have been long harassed with business and care, sometimes imagine that when life declines, they cannot make their retirement from the world too complete.' BLAIR. The besiegers of a town are sometimes perplexed in all their manoeuvres and plans, by the counter-manoeuvres and contrivances of their opponents: or a person is perplexed by the contradictory points of view in which an affair appears to him a tale of woe distresses; continual alarms and incessant labor harass; unexpected obstacles and inextricable difficulties perplex;

Would being end with our expiring breath,
How soon misfortunes would be puff'd away,
A trifling shock can shiver us to the dust,
But th' existence of the immortal soul,
Futurity's dark road perplexes still. GENTLEMAN.

We are distressed and perplexed by circumstances; we are harassed altogether by persons, or the intentional efforts of others: we may relieve another in distress, or may remove a perplexity; but the harassing ceases only with the cause which gave rise to it.


Pain is to be traced, through the French and northern languages, to the Latin and Greek Tow punishment, óvos labor, and Tévouas to be poor or in trouble. Pang is but a variation of pain, contracted from the Teutonic peinigen to torment; agony comes from the Greek dywvita to struggle or contend, signi

fying the labor or pain of a struggle; anguish comes from the Latin ango, contracted from ante and ago, to act against, or in direct opposition to, and signifies the pain arising from severe pressure.

Pain, which expresses the feeling that is most repugnant to the nature of all sensible beings, is here the generic, and the rest specific terms: pain and agony are applied indiscriminately to what is physical and mental; pang and anguish mostly respect that which is mental: pain signifies either an individual feeling or a permanent state; pang is only a particular feeling; agony is sometimes employed for the individual feeling, but more commonly for the state; anguish is always employed for the state. indefinite with regard to the degree; it may rise to the highest, or sink to the lowest possible degree; the rest are positively high degrees of pain: the pang is a sharp pain; the agony sharp pain; the agony is a severe and permanent pain; the anguish is an overwhelming pain.

Pain is


The causes of pain are as various as the modes of pain, or as the circumstances of sensible beings; it attends disease, want, and sin, in an infinite variety of forms; We should pass on from crime to crime heedless and remorseless, if misery did not stand in our way, and our own pains admonish us of our folly.' JOHNSON. The pangs of conscience frequently trouble the man who is not yet hardened in guilt: the pangs of disappointed love are among the severest to be borne;

What pangs the tender breast of Dido tore! DRYDEN. Agony and anguish are produced by violent causes, and disease in its most terrible shape; wounds and torments naturally produce corporeal agony; a guilty conscience that is awakened to a sense of guilt will suffer mental agony ;

Thou shalt behold him stretch'd in all the agonies Of a tormenting and a shameful death. OrWAY.

Anguish arises altogether from moral causes; the miseries and distresses of others, particularly of those who are nearly related, are most calculated to excite anguish; a mother suffers anguish when she sees her child laboring under severe pain, or in danger of losing its life, without having the power to relieve it;

Are these the parting pangs which nature feels, When anguish rends the heart strings? RowE.


Torment (v. To tease) and torture, both come from torqueo to twist, and express the agony which arises from a violent twisting or griping of any part; but the latter, which is more immediately derived from the verb, expresses much greater violence and consequent pain than the former. Torture is an excess of torment. We may be tormented by a variety of indirect means; but we are tortured only by the direct means of the rack, or similar instruments.

Torment may be permanent: torture is only for a time, or on certain occasions. It is related in history It is related in history that a person was once tormented to death, by a violent and incessant beating of drums in his prison : the Indians practise every species of torture upon their prisoners. A guilty conscience may torment a man all his life ;

Yet in his empire o'er thy abject breast,

His flames and torments only are exprest. PRIOR. The horrors of an awakened conscience are a torture to one who is on his death-bed ;

To a wild sonnet or a wanton air,
Offence and torture to a sober ear. PRIOR.


Afflict, in Latin afflictus, participle of affligo, compounded of af or ad and fligo, in Greek ßw to press hard, signifies to bear upon any one; distress, v. Adversity; trouble signifies to cause a tumult, from the Latin turba, Greek Túpßn or tópußos a tumult.

When these terms relate to outward circumstances, the first expresses more than the second, and the

second more than the third.

People are afflicted with grievous maladies;

A melancholy tear afflicts my eye,

And my heart labours with a sudden sigh. PRIOR. The mariner is distressed for want of water in the midst of the wide ocean, or an embarrassed tradesman is distressed for money to maintain his credit;

I often did beguile her of her tears,

When I did speak of some distressful stroke, That my youth suffered. SHAKSPEARE.

The mechanic is troubled for want of proper tools, or the head of a family for want of good domestics;

The boy so troubles me, 'Tis past enduring. SHAKSPEAre.


When they respect the inward feelings, afflict conveys the idea of deep sorrow; distress that of sorrow mixed with anxiety; trouble that of pain in a smaller degree. The death of a parent afflicts; We last night received a piece of ill-news at our club which very sensibly afflicted every one of us. I question not but my readers themselves will be troubled at the hearing of it. To keep them no longer in suspense, Sir Roger de Coverly is dead.' ADDISON. The misfortunes of our family and friends distress; While the mind contemplates distress, it is acted upon and never acts, and by indulging in this contemplation it becomes more and more unfit for action. CRAIG. Crosses in trade and domestic inconveniences trouble.

In the season of affliction prayer affords the best consolation and surest supports. The assistance and sympathy of friends serve to relieve distress. We may often help ourselves out of our troubles, and remove the evil by patience and perseverance.

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Affliction is much stronger than grief, it lies deeper in the soul, and arises from a more powerful cause; the loss of what is most dear; the continued sickness of our friends, or a reverse of fortune, will all cause affliction; Some virtues are only seen in affliction, and some in prosperity.' ADDISON. The misfortunes of others; the failure of our favorite schemes; the troubles of our country will occasion us grief; The melancholy silence that follows hereupon, and continues until he has recovered himself enough to reveal his mind to his friend, raises in the spectators a grief that is inexpressible.' ADDISON.


Sorrow is less than grief; it arises from the untoward circumstances which perpetually arise in life. A disappointment, the loss of a game, our own mistake, or the negligences of others, cause sorrow. If more serious objects awaken sorrow the feeling is less poignant than that of grief; The most agreeable objects recall the sorrow for her, with whom he used to enjoy them.' ADDISON.

Affliction lies too deep to be vehement; it discovers itself by no striking marks in the exterior; it is lasting and does not cease when the external cause ceases to act; grief may be violent, and discover itself by loud and indecorous signs; it is transitory, and ceases even before the cause which gave birth to it; sorrow discovers itself by a simple expression; it is still more transient than grief, not existing beyond the moment in which it is produced.

A person of a tender mind is afflicted at the remembrance of his sins; he is grieved at the consciousness of his fallability and proneness to error; he is, sorry for the faults which he has committed. Affliction is allayed; grief subsides; sorrow is soothed.


Grieve, v. Affliction; mourn, like moan and murmur, is probably but an imitation of the sound which is produced by pain.

To grieve is the general term; mourn the particular term. To grieve, in its limited sense, is am

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