Origin of growing pains
Words nearby growing pains
What does growing pains mean?
Originally a reference to the physical pains many children experience when going through a growth spurt, growing pains has come to refer to the hardships experienced at the early stages of some endeavor.
The term is frequently used to describe the struggles found in transitioning from an adolescent to an adult, from an amateur to a professional, or the creation or expansion of a business.
How is growing pains pronounced?
[ groh-ing peynz ]
Where does growing pains come from?
These growing pains were described in 1823 by French physician Marcel Duchamp, who came up with it based on his observation that these pains tended to occur during a period of dramatic growth in a child. While growing pains are in fact usually experienced by young children, Duchamp’s growth-based explanation has been disproven.
No one really knows exactly what causes growing pains, but according to pediatrician Joshua Burns of the University of Sydney in 2016, recent research suggests that they may be caused by “altered pain threshold, decreased bone strength, excess flexibility known as joint hypermobility, greater body weight, parental history of arthritis or family history of growing pains.”
While the cause of growing pains remains a mystery, the term has not only stuck, but also, er, grown to take on a metaphorical sense that refers to struggles found in a period of growth in any part of life.
The term has often appeared in popular culture, such as in the late 1980s–90s ABC sitcom Growing Pains, which centered around the trials and tribulations of the Seaver family and their life on Long Island, New York. The show ran for an impressive seven seasons and helped launch the career of Leonardo DiCaprio.
More recently, the term was used by Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara in her 2018 single titled—yep, you guessed it—“Growing Pains.” In an interview with Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos that year, Cara said the song was inspired by the “huge growing pain” she’s experienced in finding herself amid her newfound success in the music industry.
How is growing pains used in real life?
Outside of some parents explaining to their children that their aches are growing pains, metaphorical use of growing pains—for the struggles or challenges of someone of something coming of age—can be found in a wide variety of areas online, print, and good, old-fashioned everyday speech.
More examples of growing pains:
“Alison van Diggelen, herself an early adopter, explores the growing pains of building an electric car charging network and the fledgling new industry rising up to meet the challenge.”
—KQED, Law.com, November 2012
“If you’re going through the mud, you’re learning something crucial. You are improving. You are becoming someone different. Hallelujah for that. Hallelujah for the thought of becoming better versions of ourselves in the midst of daily growing pains.”
—@hannahbrencher, July 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use growing pains in a sentence
However, the trend may be not only a signal that there’s a retirement age for esports athletes, like with traditional athletes, but also a sign that esports has reached its growing pains phase.Future of TV Briefing: What Discovery-WarnerMedia signals about the streaming wars|Tim Peterson|May 19, 2021|Digiday
The free, ad-supported streaming TV market has reached its growing pains phase.
Between 25 and 30, you’re trying to decide how much longer before you start growing a beard and calling yourself ‘Daddy.Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic|Samantha Allen|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Asian-Americans may vote for Democrats now, but they are a highly persuadable—and growing—part of the electorate.
Asian-Americans are a group of persuadable swing voters, growing faster than any other group in America today.
Latinos, the fastest growing minority group in America, are even more underrepresented in Congress.
These are young fathers, rural farmers, usually growing banana or coffee or subsistence crops.
She herself had worn them in her youth, and they were the proper bonnets for "growing girls."The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
She was growing a little stout, but it did not seem to detract an iota from the grace of every step, pose, gesture.
Mrs. Jolly Robin had often wished—when she was trying to feed a rapidly-growing family—that she could hunt forp.The Tale of Grandfather Mole|Arthur Scott Bailey
She was growing accustomed to like shocks, but she could not keep the mounting color back from her cheeks.
Tobacco is a strong growing plant resisting heat and drought to a far (p. 018) greater extent than most plants.
British Dictionary definitions for growing pains
Medical definitions for growing pains
Other Idioms and Phrases with growing pains
Problems that arise in beginning or enlarging an enterprise, as in The company is undergoing growing pains but should be viable by next year. This expression, which dates from the late 1800s, originally referred to the joint and limb aches experienced by youngsters who are growing rapidly. By about 1900 it was being used figuratively.