pain

noun
\ ˈpān How to pronounce pain (audio) \

Definition of pain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a localized or generalized unpleasant bodily sensation or complex of sensations that causes mild to severe physical discomfort and emotional distress and typically results from bodily disorder (such as injury or disease) acute shooting pains also : the state marked by the presence of such sensations was in constant pain
(2) : a basic bodily sensation that is induced by a noxious stimulus, is received by naked nerve endings, is associated with actual or potential tissue damage, is characterized by physical discomfort (such as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leads to evasive action
b : mental or emotional distress or suffering : grief the pain she had felt at those humiliating words— Morley Callaghan
2 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/buttHis little sister is a real pain in the neck.
3 pains plural : trouble, care, or effort taken to accomplish something was at pains to reassure us
4 pains plural : the throes of childbirth
5 : punishment the pains and penalties of crime
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 : to give or have a sensation of pain
2 archaic : suffer

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Synonyms for pain

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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 First the otherwise healthy 10-year-old boy complained of a headache and no appetite, followed by a high fever that wouldn’t subside with pain relievers. Angie Leventis Lourgos, chicagotribune.com, "‘So happy to bring my son home.’ 10-year-old boy survives severe inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19.," 23 Oct. 2020 From 2006 to 2014, more than 431 million prescription pain pills were supplied to Suffolk County, according to a Washington Post database. Washington Post, "As a doctor and lawmaker, he fought drug abuse. Then he tried to swap opioids for sex, police say.," 22 Oct. 2020 The music is live and largely elegiac, the dancing virtuosic and mostly abstract though flecked with gestures of vulnerability, pain and anger. Brian Seibert, New York Times, "Running Live Dance Drills at the Armory," 22 Oct. 2020 Daw added that in other studies the anterior insula is often associated with processing negative experiences, disgust, and pain. Sara Harrison, Wired, "Your Brain Prefers Happy Endings. That’s Not Always Smart," 22 Oct. 2020 A University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health pain organization took in $2.5 million from companies, the biggest chunk coming from Purdue, that made narcotic painkillers while advocating for greater use of the drugs. John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Purdue Pharma, whose OxyContin sparked the opioid epidemic, agrees to pay $8 billion," 21 Oct. 2020 Then—all within 24 hours—came the fever, chills and body aches, severe pain and utter exhaustion, and hospitalization in the intensive-care unit. Chris Christie, WSJ, "I Should Have Worn a Mask," 21 Oct. 2020 Side effects from the lower doses of the vaccine were mild, and included fatigue, chills, headache or muscle pain. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Health care workers to get first COVID-19 vaccine doses in Michigan," 21 Oct. 2020 The clinics provide emergency response training and evacuation kits, COVID-19 protective equipment, stress and pain relief therapy, and free lunch. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "Why Sonoma is the only Bay Area county stuck in the strictest reopening tier," 21 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The judge also found that his lawyers should have introduced certain evidence during the sentencing phase, including information about how Revis first became addicted to pain pills after a high school football injury. al, "Alabama inmate being removed from death row," 24 Sep. 2020 Disclaimer: Getting a tattoo will never not hurt, but that being said, pain tolerance differs for each person. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "23 Things You Need to Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo," 6 Aug. 2020 Hence, varicose veins that can cause tingly pain down below. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Lightning Crotch, Back Pain, and 6 Other Pregnancy Pains That Are Totally Normal," 14 Aug. 2020 No release; no writing about it and shaping it into an episode for something larger or sadder than pain itself. Longreads, "A Survey of My Right Arm," 4 Mar. 2020 While everyone knows about the telltale signs of a heart attack — tightness in the chest, pain down your left arm — there are other symptoms that could indicate a heart attack is about to hit you full-force. Amy Capetta, Redbook, "6 Subtle Signs of a Heart Attack in Women," 25 July 2018 But even pain that profound doesn’t justify undermining your son’s rightful authority to decide who has access to his family. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: He’s estranged from his son but wants to meet his granddaughter," 30 July 2020 In a 2016 study, researchers found many doctors and med students believe there are biological differences between Black and White people, and that Black people are not as sensitive to pain as their White counterparts. Li Cohen, CBS News, ""Our system is not built to serve everyone equally": Doctors push for an end to racial discrimination in health care," 6 July 2020 But times are so very different, and in many ways that pain deeper, in the wake of the death of George Floyd nearly two weeks ago at the hands of Minneapolis police. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "With IndyCar in primetime, NBC carrying heavy burden: 'We need an Indy 500 level of excitement'," 5 June 2020

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 5

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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Time Traveler for pain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pain

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pain. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for pain

pain

noun
How to pronounce pain (audio)

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
informal : 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)

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

pain

noun
\ ˈpān How to pronounce pain (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pain (audio) \

Medical Definition of pain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a localized or generalized unpleasant bodily sensation or complex of sensations that causes mild to severe physical discomfort and emotional distress and typically results from bodily disorder (as injury or disease) acute shooting pains also : the state marked by the presence of such sensations was in constant pain
(2) : a basic bodily sensation that is induced by a noxious stimulus, is received by naked nerve endings, is associated with actual or potential tissue damage, is characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leads to evasive action
b : mental or emotional distress or suffering
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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Comments on pain

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