be at pains

Definition of be at pains

  1. :  to try hard (to do something) They were at pains to distance themselves from the scandal.

Word by Word Definitions

painplay pains
  1. :  punishment

    :  usually localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury)

    :  a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action

  1. :  to make suffer or cause distress to :  hurt

    :  to put (oneself) to trouble or exertion

    :  suffer

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