pain

noun
\ ˈpān \

Definition of pain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : punishment the pains and penalties of crime
2a : usually localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (such as a disease or an injury) the pain of a twisted ankle also : a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (such as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action the pain of bee stings
b : acute mental or emotional distress or suffering : grief the pain she had felt at those humiliating words— Morley Callaghan
3 pains plural : the throes of childbirth
4 pains plural : trouble, care, or effort taken to accomplish something was at pains to reassure us
5 informal : one that irks or annoys or is otherwise troublesome … almost everything requires a password these days, and it can be a real pain to remember them all.— Michael Cahlin often used in such phrases as pain in the neck or (impolite) pain in the ass/butt His little sister is a real pain in the neck.
on pain of or under pain of
: subject to penalty or punishment of made to leave the country on pain of death

pain

verb
pained; paining; pains

Definition of pain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make suffer or cause distress to : hurt
2 archaic : to put (oneself) to trouble or exertion

intransitive verb

1 archaic : suffer
2 : to give or have a sensation of pain

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Other Words from pain

Noun

painless \ ˈpān-​ləs \ adjective
painlessly adverb
painlessness noun

Synonyms for pain

Synonyms: Noun

ache, pang, prick, shoot, smart, sting, stitch, throe, tingle, twinge

Synonyms: Verb

ache, hurt, smart

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Examples of pain in a Sentence

Noun

The medication may upset your stomach but if you experience acute abdominal pain call your doctor. I've had chronic back pain since the accident. The medicine provides 12 hours of pain relief. I feel a dull pain if I touch the bruise. the pain of a difficult childhood It is a story about the joys and pains of life. Rush hour traffic is such a pain. This orange is a pain to peel.

Verb

As much as it pains me to admit it, she was right. my poor head was paining so from all that racket
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That’s why, in a sense, the pain of Parliament is understandable. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Why Brexit is tearing the United Kingdom apart," 27 Nov. 2018 The list includes pain in the arms and legs, and sensitivity to light, noise and smells. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 Jordan may have always been smiling on camera, but various interviews reveal that the singer dealt with a lot of pain while competing. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Dancing With the Stars Juniors' Host Jordan Fisher Had a Tough Time on 'DWTS'," 2 Oct. 2018 Once again, a women's pain is being utilized in a way that does not benefit her, and—as is viscerally obvious watching the testimony—is actively, terribly, painful. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "The Christine Blasey Ford Quote That Will Stay With You," 27 Sep. 2018 Physicians treating pain in patients with a distant history of addiction can unwittingly put patients at risk of relapse by prescribing opioids without appropriate counseling. Melissa Stein, STAT, "Privacy laws are hurting the care of patients with addiction," 13 July 2018 One experiment looked at why astronauts often get back pain in space. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "Touring Where the Mars-500 'Astronauts' Pretended to Take a Red Planet Journey," 11 July 2018 But that immediate pain is also the point, politically. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "How Trump’s trade war with China could go sideways on him," 7 July 2018 Kika recently began to feel pain in the left side of her stomach. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar community rallies around 'icon' in need," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new study tested the rival drug, Praluent, for a longer time and in patients at higher risk — nearly 19,000 people who in the previous year had a heart attack or chest pain serious enough to put them in the hospital. Washington Post, "Study: Cholesterol drug lowers risk of death, heart attack," 10 Mar. 2018 How ought outspoken survivors all feel, having aired indignities and pain publicly and across generations, to receive lip service from politicians, but ultimately see justice evaporate again? Sarah Stankorb, Glamour, "Are Hashtags Like #MeToo and #BelieveWomen Hurting or Helping Survivors?," 15 Oct. 2018 Families say the way they were notified ends up being the searing, specific detail that pains them long after their loved one is buried. Christie Thompson, sacbee, "Your loved one dies. The prison leaves a voicemail," 22 June 2018 And while Kerr was more than happy to be part of the tribute, the reality that these sorts of tributes are becoming so commonplace pains him. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "Steve Kerr on Rockets' Santa Fe shooting tribute: 'Agonizing' that it will happen again," 24 May 2018 But what pains her even more is that the party that claims black women are its backbone is also undermining them. Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root, "The Progressive Revolution Is Being Led by a Black Woman," 10 Apr. 2018 Wenger also revealed how much each defeat pains him, calling every loss a 'scar'. SI.com, "Arsene Wenger Indicates Arsenal May Not Be the Last Club He Manages," 28 Mar. 2018 American gynecology was borne from these practices, and its damaging effects still permeates in the false belief that Black women don't experience pain the ways other women do. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Black Women Are Not Your Superheroes," 9 July 2018 Ellie was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor at just 4 months, which made chemo, hospital visits and pain constant variables in the child's short life. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "Heartbroken Mom Posts Photo of Her Daughter's Car Seat As She Brings Home Her Ashes," 20 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pain

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for pain

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French peine, from Latin poena, from Greek poinē payment, penalty; akin to Greek tinein to pay, tinesthai to punish, Avestan kaēnā revenge, Sanskrit cayate he revenges

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Dictionary Entries near pain

pailletted

paillon

pai-lou

pain

Paine

pained

painful

Statistics for pain

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pain

The first known use of pain was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pain

pain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the physical feeling caused by disease, injury, or something that hurts the body

: mental or emotional suffering : sadness caused by some emotional or mental problem

: someone or something that causes trouble or makes you feel annoyed or angry

pain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel emotional pain : to make (someone) upset, sad, worried, etc.

pain

noun
\ ˈpān \

Kids Definition of pain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : physical suffering that accompanies a bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury) The medicine relieves pain.
2 : a very unpleasant feeling (as a prick or an ache) that is caused especially by something harmful I have a pain in my side.
3 : suffering of the mind or emotions : grief The humiliation brought her great pain.
4 pains plural : great care or effort My sister took pains with the garden.
5 : someone or something annoying

Other Words from pain

painful \ ˈpān-​fəl \ adjective
painfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb
painless \ -​ləs \ adjective

pain

verb
pained; paining

Kids Definition of pain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause physical or mental suffering in or to It pains me to think of it.
2 : to give or feel physical or mental suffering The suckers, which were fastened to me and pained greatly, lessened their hold.— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins

pain

noun
\ ˈpān \

Medical Definition of pain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a state of physical, emotional, or mental lack of well-being or physical, emotional, or mental uneasiness that ranges from mild discomfort or dull distress to acute often unbearable agony, may be generalized or localized, and is the consequence of being injured or hurt physically or mentally or of some derangement of or lack of equilibrium in the physical or mental functions (as through disease), and that usually produces a reaction of wanting to avoid, escape, or destroy the causative factor and its effects was in constant pain
b : a basic bodily sensation that is induced by a noxious stimulus, is received by naked nerve endings, is characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leads to evasive action
2 pains plural : the protracted series of involuntary contractions of the uterine musculature that constitute the major factor in parturient labor and that are often accompanied by considerable pain her pains had begun

Medical Definition of pain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make suffer or cause distress to

intransitive verb

: to give or have a sensation of pain

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pain

noun

Legal Definition of pain

2a : physical discomfort associated with bodily disorder (as disease or injury)
b : acute mental or emotional suffering
on pain of or under pain of
: subject to penalty or punishment of ordered not to leave the country on pain of death

Other Words from pain

painless adjective
painlessly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on pain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pain

Spanish Central: Translation of pain

Nglish: Translation of pain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pain

Comments on pain

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