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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Other Words from pain

Noun

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

Synonyms for pain

Synonyms: Noun

ache, pang, prick, shoot, smart, sting, stitch, throe, tingle, twinge

Synonyms: Verb

ache, hurt, smart

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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

Prescription opioids are often given to cancer patients in severe pain at the end of their lives and people who have been in accidents or undergone surgery. Washington Post, "‘Blood money’? Purdue settlement would rely on opioid sales," 17 Sep. 2019 At one point Sunday, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was working his grip and wincing in pain. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Brees and Big Ben Concerns, the Ryan-Julio Hookup, Dak’s Magic and Poised Josh Allen: Week 2 in the NFL," 16 Sep. 2019 Patients in pain want the quickest method available, said Ali-Khan. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Hospital hosts Crush the Crisis to collect opiods," 16 Sep. 2019 Dinson writhed in pain on the ground for nearly 4 minutes. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "4 years after devastating injury nearly ended his career, Jeremiah Dinson is better than ever," 16 Sep. 2019 Franks lay on the field in obvious pain as athletic trainers attended to him. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Gators starting QB Feleipe Franks suffers leg injury," 14 Sep. 2019 Conley reached for his head in pain immediately after his neck was compressed. Josh Dubow, chicagotribune.com, "Raiders rookie and ‘Hard Knocks’ star Jonathan Abram to miss season with shoulder injury," 12 Sep. 2019 The famous moment in the comedy shows Carell blurting out Clarkson's name in pain during a vicious chest-waxing. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Steve Carell Opens Kelly Clarkson's Talk Show Premiere With Iconic '40-Year-Old Virgin' Scene Re-Creation," 9 Sep. 2019 Mayfield was also sacked five times and came up wincing in pain after a couple of them, including the one in the end zone for a safety, and a fourth-quarter sack by Cameron Wake, who had three and earned a game ball. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Baker Mayfield X-rays negative after Titans’ rout and ‘everybody’s going to throw us in the trash’," 8 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 How ought outspoken survivors all feel, having aired indignities and pain publicly and across generations, to receive lip service from politicians, but ultimately see justice evaporate again? Sarah Stankorb, Glamour, "Are Hashtags Like #MeToo and #BelieveWomen Hurting or Helping Survivors?," 15 Oct. 2018 Families say the way they were notified ends up being the searing, specific detail that pains them long after their loved one is buried. Christie Thompson, sacbee, "Your loved one dies. The prison leaves a voicemail," 22 June 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.

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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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Learn More about pain

Dictionary Entries near pain

pailletted

paillon

pai-lou

pain

Paine

pained

painful

Statistics for pain

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pain

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

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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

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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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

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