painful

adjective
pain·​ful | \ ˈpān-fəl How to pronounce painful (audio) \
painfuller\ ˈpān-​fə-​lər How to pronounce painfuller (audio) \; painfullest

Definition of painful

1a : feeling or giving pain a painful injury
2 : requiring effort or exertion a long painful trip
3 archaic : careful, diligent

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Other Words from painful

painfully \ ˈpān-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce painfully (audio) \ adverb
painfulness \ ˈpān-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce painfulness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for painful

Synonyms

aching, achy, afflictive, hurting, nasty, sore

Antonyms

indolent, painless

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Examples of painful in a Sentence

I got a painful sunburn. We can't ignore our country's painful history of slavery. His questions brought up a lot of painful memories. It was painful to watch.
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Recent Examples on the Web

What if your ankle monitor has become really painful? Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, "How Families Separated at the Border Could Make the Government Pay," 15 June 2019 In the moments after a painful season-ending defeat, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr indicated that Kevin Durant's Achilles injury will cost the star forward the 2019-20 season. Ben Golliver, courant.com, "Kevin Durant is ‘going to miss next season,’ Steve Kerr says," 14 June 2019 Derrell Acon, the bass-baritone who plays McCray, noticed peers expressing on social media that the Netflix series was too difficult and painful to watch. Makeda Easter, latimes.com, "The Central Park Five as opera: The Long Beach take on the tragic story," 14 June 2019 Walking into the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet and seeing a display featuring the late Most Rev. Daniel Ryan triggers a flood of painful memories and unleashes a range of emotions. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: A Joliet bishop engaged in sexual misconduct. The diocese still displays his picture in the cathedral.," 13 June 2019 These changes have been painful for gaming industry workers, but lucrative for gaming companies. Time, "Video Game Creators Are Burned Out and Desperate for Change," 11 June 2019 Standing, and walking, especially, became unbearably painful for her; her feet simply would not comply. Mariana Viera, Teen Vogue, "Domestic Workers Like My Mom Deserve Protection and Security," 26 Mar. 2019 The resolution was backed by France, the U.K. and the U.S., but the veto was especially painful for the Venezuelan people and their South American neighbors. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "China Vetoes Venezuelan Freedom," 18 Mar. 2019 The 53- year-old choreographer and reality star has been open about her painful health journey, sharing raw photos of her post-surgery and updating fans every step of the way. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Abby Lee Miller Is Officially Cancer Free," 23 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'painful.' 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 painful

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

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Statistics for painful

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for painful

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

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More Definitions for painful

painful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of painful

: causing pain to your body
: causing emotional pain

painful

adjective
pain·​ful | \ ˈpān-fəl How to pronounce painful (audio) \
painfuller\ -​fə-​lər How to pronounce painfuller (audio) \; painfullest

Medical Definition of painful

: feeling or giving pain

Other Words from painful

painfully \ -​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce painfully (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on painful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with painful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for painful

Spanish Central: Translation of painful

Nglish: Translation of painful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of painful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on painful

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