Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

painful

[peyn-fuh l] /ˈpeɪn fəl/
adjective
1.
affected with, causing, or characterized by pain:
a painful wound; a painful night; a painful memory.
2.
laborious; exacting; difficult:
a painful life.
3.
Archaic. painstaking; careful.
Origin of painful
1300-1350
Middle English word dating back to 1300-50; See origin at pain, -ful
Related forms
painfully, adverb
painfulness, noun
overpainful, adjective
overpainfully, adverb
overpainfulness, noun
unpainful, adjective
unpainfully, adverb
Synonyms
1. distressing, torturing, agonizing, tormenting, excruciating. 2. arduous.
Antonyms
2. easy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for painfully
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For he had been painfully conscious now and then that he played but second fiddle.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • But, in truth, it did surprise her to see how slowly and painfully he walked as he left her.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • They spoke of him as "he," and as leading a painfully worthless and disreputable life.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Then Josie, painfully sweet: "Did you get the invitation, Betty?"

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • He was painfully conscious of what he had missed, had lost—or had not yet found: the love of woman.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
British Dictionary definitions for painfully

painful

/ˈpeɪnfʊl/
adjective
1.
causing pain; distressing: a painful duty
2.
affected with pain: a painful leg
3.
tedious or difficult
4.
(informal) extremely bad: a painful performance
Derived Forms
painfully, adverb
painfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for painfully

painful

adj.

mid-14c., from pain (n.) + -ful. Related: Painfully; painfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for painfully

Word Value for painfully

17
21
Scrabble Words With Friends