- physical suffering or distress, as due to injury, illness, etc.
- a distressing sensation in a particular part of the body: a back pain.
- mental or emotional suffering or torment: I am sorry my news causes you such pain.
- laborious or careful efforts; assiduous care: Great pains have been taken to repair the engine perfectly.
- the suffering of childbirth.
- Informal. an annoying or troublesome person or thing.
- to cause physical pain to; hurt.
- to cause (someone) mental or emotional pain; distress: Your sarcasm pained me.
- to have or give pain.
Origin of pain
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pains
Lee would stay up late, unable to sleep from the pains he had in his back.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
In the not-so-distant future, an independent country, which belongs to Kurds, will rise from these wants, pains, fire and ashes.Dear Turkish PM: It’s Time to Act to Save Kobani’s Kurds
October 8, 2014
It pains me to say this, in the year 2014, we are in a death match.Gaza, You're No Good For My Marriage
August 9, 2014
As much as it pains Americans to admit this, Ronaldo saved our asses.Why It’s Still OK to Hate Sexy Bastard Cristiano Ronaldo After He Saved Team USA
June 26, 2014
At the same time, interim government and military officials alike are at pains to emphasize the seriousness of their response.On the Contraband Trail With Libya’s Gun Smugglers
June 16, 2014
I have a French feather-bed there, which I have been at pains to keep these years back.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
He received a reproachful look from Mrs. Porter for his pains.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
The words, of her age, piqued me; and I spared no pains to make him forget them.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
The blood trickled from his forehead; he complained of pains in his side and limbs.Night and Morning, Complete
What that principle is may well be worth the pains of enquiry.
- care, trouble, or effort (esp in the phrases take pains, be at pains to)
- painful sensations experienced during contractions in childbirth; labour pains
- the sensation of acute physical hurt or discomfort caused by injury, illness, etc
- emotional suffering or mental distress
- on pain of subject to the penalty of
- Also called: pain in the neck, (taboo) pain in the arse informal a person or thing that is a nuisance
- to cause (a person) distress, hurt, grief, anxiety, etc
- informal to annoy; irritate
Word Origin and History for pains
late 13c., "punishment," especially for a crime; also "condition one feels when hurt, opposite of pleasure," from Old French peine "difficulty, woe, suffering, punishment, Hell's torments" (11c.), from Latin poena "punishment, penalty, retribution, indemnification" (in Late Latin also "torment, hardship, suffering"), from Greek poine "retribution, penalty, quit-money for spilled blood," from PIE *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (see penal). The earliest sense in English survives in phrase on pain of death.
Phrase to give (someone) a pain "be annoying and irritating" is from 1908; localized as pain in the neck (1924) and pain in the ass (1934), though this last might have gone long unrecorded and be the original sense and the others euphemisms. Pains "great care taken (for some purpose)" is first recorded 1520s (in the singular in this sense, it is attested from c.1300). First record of pain-killer is from 1853.
c.1300, "to exert or strain oneself, strive; endeavor," from Old French pener (v.) "to hurt, cause pain," from peine, and from Middle English peine (n.); see pain (n.). Transitive meaning "cause pain; inflict pain" is from late 14c. That of "to cause sorrow, grief, or unhappiness" also is from late 14c. Related: Pained; paining.
- An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder.
- One of the uterine contractions occurring in childbirth.