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[pang] /pæŋ/
a sudden feeling of mental or emotional distress or longing:
a pang of remorse; a pang of desire.
a sudden, brief, sharp pain or physical sensation; spasm:
hunger pangs.
Origin of pang
First recorded in 1495-1505; origin uncertain
1, 2. twinge, ache, throb, prick, stab. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pangs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their sighs make thee laugh, and their pangs are thy merriment!

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1 Henry Fielding
  • He ignores honesty and conscience, and pangs of remorse are unknown to him.

  • He had slept and no longer felt the pangs of hunger, but was dizzy and confused.

  • He had felt hungry in the casemate, and the pangs of hunger had never since left him.

  • Pascal, who suffered the pangs of death because he was alone!

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for pangs


a sudden brief sharp feeling, as of loneliness, physical pain, or hunger
Word Origin
C16: variant of earlier prange, of Germanic origin
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
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Word Origin and History for pangs



1520s, "sudden physical pain," of unknown origin, perhaps related to prong (prongys of deth is recorded from mid-15c.). Reference to mental or emotional pain is from 1560s. Related: Pangs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pangs in Medicine

pang (pāng)
A sudden sharp spasm of pain.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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