Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

painful

play
adjective pain·ful \ˈpān-fəl\

Simple Definition of painful

  • : causing pain to your body

  • : causing emotional pain

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of painful

painfuller

play \-fə-lər\

painfullest

  1. 1 a :  feeling or giving pain <a painful injury> b :  irksome, annoying

  2. 2 :  requiring effort or exertion <a long painful trip>

  3. 3 archaic :  careful, diligent

painfully

play \-f(ə-)lē\ adverb

painfulness

play \-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of painful in a sentence

  1. I got a painful sunburn.

  2. We can't ignore our country's painful history of slavery.

  3. His questions brought up a lot of painful memories.

  4. It was painful to watch.



14th Century

First Known Use of painful

14th century

Rhymes with painful


Medical Dictionary

painful

play
adjective pain·ful \ˈpān-fəl\

Medical Definition of painful

painfuller

\-fə-lər\play ;

painfullest

  1. :  feeling or giving pain

painfully

\-f(ə-)lē\play adverb





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up painful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

in the capacity or character of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

experimental massive frightening formless
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ