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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pain

Noun

painless \ ˈpān-​ləs How to pronounce painless (audio) \ adjective
painlessly adverb
painlessness noun

Synonyms for pain

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In fact, people who are more forgiving report better health in general, less pain, and less chronic illness. Sandy M. Fernández, Woman's Day, "Forgiveness May Be Your Secret Health Superpower," 12 Nov. 2019 Several hours later, the chest pain worsens, the EKG changes and the patient needs to go into intensive care, which is considered inpatient, the Clinic said in an email. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Hospitals’ patient classification system can add hundreds of dollars to your bill," 10 Nov. 2019 Clinical tests show that mindfulness relieves stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia, and hypertension. Beverley Mcguire, Quartzy, "Are meditation apps missing the point?," 10 Nov. 2019 Cannabis has been used responsibly by a growing number of veterans to treat conditions like chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Socrates Rosenfeld, Quartz, "Military veterans are the future of weed entrepreneurship," 9 Nov. 2019 Having initially picked up a knock back in the 1-0 win over Sevilla in September, Rodríguez played through the pain to operate as a late substitute for Los Blancos during October, but aggravated the injury and has missed the team's last two games. SI.com, "James Rodríguez Set to Miss Galatasaray and Eibar Clashes as Recovery From Muscle Injury Continues," 4 Nov. 2019 The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. Maggie Rauser, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Safe Kids Carroll: How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, the silent killer," 2 Nov. 2019 The injury was nothing new for the Huntsville, Alabama, native, but this time the pain took almost two days to dissipate. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "A career-ending injury helped pave path for Jon Sumrall to return to Kentucky as a coach," 29 Oct. 2019 And then there are screams of anguish, screams of pain and, of course, screams of terror. Frank T. Mcandrew, The Conversation, "Why we love big, blood-curdling screams," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chambers and colleagues from Tufts University and the Office Ergonomics Research Committee recently conducted a review of sit-stand desk research on a variety of health and work benefits ranging from posture to productivity to pain relief. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Sit, stand, sit: The new science about how to best use your standing desk," 12 Sep. 2019 Another important consideration: Research suggests that marijuana consumers may have increased sensitivity to pain following surgery. Naomi Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "No eating, no drinking, and now, no marijuana before surgery, doctors say," 21 Aug. 2019 For women, a heart attack could feel similar to indigestion—not pain in the chest. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "25 years of women being underrepresented in medical research, in charts," 3 July 2019 The shortcomings and travails of both countries pain me. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Patrios," 16 Sep. 2019 Related Articles Martin’s boyfriend told police that his girlfriend is addicted to pain medication. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Little Canada woman stabbed friend to death while high on meth, charges say," 6 Aug. 2019 In general, neck pain refers to pain anywhere from the area at the base of the skull into the shoulders. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "5 stretches that will relieve neck pain and tension," 14 Aug. 2019 Joe Kovacs was second at 73-2 ½, and Darrell Hill third at 72-6 ½. That Crouser was there to throw at all is a tribute to pain tolerance and modern medicine. oregonlive.com, "Ryan Crouser rises to the moment, wins the shot at the USATF Outdoor Championships," 26 July 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pain

Statistics for pain

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for pain

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!