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/butt His 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 Racial bias — including the erroneous belief that Black patients feel less pain than white patients — could be behind these disparities. Claudia López Lloreda, STAT, 23 July 2021 The fear and pain of women and other underrepresented groups in ProServe are real. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 23 July 2021 But knee pain kept her from working, so her income had dropped. Markian Hawryluk, PEOPLE.com, 23 July 2021 Most squads go through playoff heartbreak multiple times before playing for an NBA championship, but now the Suns have experienced postseason pain in the worst way. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 22 July 2021 Chappell had blood drawn and was examined for back pain at Schneck hospital before being taken to the Jackson County Jail. Mary Ramsey, The Courier-Journal, 22 July 2021 Compared with antibodies, T cells are fragile, reclusive, and a pain to measure, Smita Iyer, an immunologist at UC Davis, told me. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 21 July 2021 Johnson & Johnson, which supplied opioid materials to other companies and made its own fentanyl patches for pain patients, is accused of downplaying the products’ addictive properties to doctors as well as patients. New York Times, 21 July 2021 An 18-month spree of ransomware attacks has imperiled critical infrastructure around the world and worsened the pandemic’s economic pain. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, 21 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Distracted by the stress and pain her body was enduring, Eyeson-Akiwowo relied on her husband to advocate on her behalf, demanding a new nurse. Pauleanna Reid, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Earlier this year, Higgins opened up about his former addiction to pain killers. Dory Jackson, PEOPLE.com, 6 July 2021 Pharmacists say the shortages affecting everything from medication for chronic illnesses to pain killers and baby formula are increasingly putting them at odds with customers and patients. Zeina Karam, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 From sleep therapy to pain relief and summer re-energize programs, the team at Lanserhof is able to help with immediate health concerns while developing personalized programs for better health. Nel-olivia Waga, Forbes, 17 June 2021 But that high spirit didn’t last long, and joy reverted to pain and sorrow. Joseph Samuels, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Unlike Joan in Animal, the real women in Three Women have not responded to pain with rage or vengeance. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 27 May 2021 About 91% of the vaccine recipients had local reactions from the shot within seven days, typically pain at the injection site, according to the CDC. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, 12 May 2021 The weekend shutdown of the country’s largest fuel pipeline after a ransomware attack could translate to pain at the pump if it isn’t quickly returned to service, experts say. Washington Post, 10 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near pain

pai-lou

pain

Paine

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Statistics for pain

Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pain. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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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
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

pain

transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pain

Nglish: Translation of pain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pain

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