Definition of painful
- a long painful trip
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.
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.
: causing pain to your body
: causing emotional pain
What made you want to look up painful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).