Etymology
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torture (n.)
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" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").

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.
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torture (v.)
1580s, from torture (n.). Related: Tortured; torturing.
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torturous (adj.)
"pertaining to or characterized by torture," late 15c., from Anglo-French torturous, from Old French tortureus, from Latin tortura (see torture (n.)).
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*terkw- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to twist."

It forms all or part of: contort; distort; extort; extortion; nasturtium; queer; retort; thwart; torch; torment; torque (n.) "rotating force;" torsion; tort; torticollis; tortuous; torture; truss.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tarkuh "spindle;" Latin torquere "to twist;" Old Church Slavonic traku "band, girdle;" Old High German drahsil "turner," German drechseln "to turn on a lathe;" Old Norse þvert "across," Old English þweorh "transverse, perverse, angry, cross," Gothic þwairhs "angry."
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torment (n.)
c. 1300, "the inflicting of torture," also "state of great suffering, pain, distress," from Old French torment "torture, pain, anguish, suffering distress" (11c., Modern French tourment), from Latin tormentum "twisted cord, sling; clothes-press; instrument for hurling stones," also "instrument of torture, a rack," figuratively "anguish, pain, torment," from torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").
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excruciate (v.)

"to torture, torment, inflict very severe pain on," as if by crucifying, 1560s, from Latin excruciatus, past participle of excruciare "to torture, torment, rack, plague;" figuratively "to afflict, harass, vex, torment," from ex "out, out from; thoroughly" (see ex-) + cruciare "cause pain or anguish to," literally "crucify," from crux (genitive crucis) "a cross" (see crux).

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torment (v.)
c. 1300, "inflict torture on, distress," from Old French tormenter "torture, torment, oppress, agitate" (12c.), from Medieval Latin tormentare "to torment, to twist," from Latin tormentum "twisted cord, sling; clothes-press; instrument for hurling stones," also "instrument of torture, a rack," figuratively "anguish, pain, torment," from torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Related: Tormented; tormenting.
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torsion (n.)

early 15c., "wringing pain in the bowels," from Old French torsion "colic" (early 14c.), from Late Latin torsionem (nominative torsio) "a wringing or gripping," from Latin tortionem (nominative tortio) "torture, torment," noun of action from past-participle stem of torquere "to twist, distort, torture" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Meaning "act or effect of twisting as by opposing forces" is first recorded 1540s.

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tormentor (n.)
c. 1300, from Anglo-French tormentour, Old French tormenteor "torturer," agent noun from tormenter "to torture" (see torment (v.)).
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travail (n.)
"labor, toil," mid-13c., from Old French travail "work, labor, toil, suffering or painful effort, trouble; arduous journey" (12c.), from travailler "to toil, labor," originally "to trouble, torture, torment," from Vulgar Latin *tripaliare "to torture," from *tripalium (in Late Latin trepalium) "instrument of torture," probably from Latin tripalis "having three stakes" (from tria "three;" see three + palus "stake" (from PIE *pakslo-, suffixed form of root *pag- "to fasten"), which sounds ominous, but the exact notion is obscure. The verb is recorded from late 13c. in English, from the verb in Old French.
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