View synonyms for pain


[ peyn ]


  1. physical suffering or distress, as due to injury, illness, etc.

    Synonyms: torment, misery, torture

  2. a distressing sensation in a particular part of the body:

    a back pain.

    Synonyms: stitch, twinge, pang, torment, misery, torture

  3. mental or emotional suffering or torment:

    I am sorry my news causes you such pain.

    Synonyms: torment, misery, torture

    Antonyms: delight, joy

  4. pains,
    1. laborious or careful efforts; assiduous care:

      Great pains have been taken to repair the engine perfectly.

    2. the suffering of childbirth.
  5. Informal. an annoying or troublesome person or thing.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause physical pain to; hurt.
  2. to cause (someone) mental or emotional pain; distress:

    Your sarcasm pained me.

    Synonyms: grieve, trouble, torment, afflict

    Antonyms: please

verb (used without object)

  1. to have or give pain.


/ peɪn /


  1. the sensation of acute physical hurt or discomfort caused by injury, illness, etc
  2. emotional suffering or mental distress
  3. on pain of
    subject to the penalty of
  4. informal.
    Also calledpain in the necktaboopain in the arse a person or thing that is a nuisance


  1. to cause (a person) distress, hurt, grief, anxiety, etc
  2. informal.
    to annoy; irritate

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Other Words From

  • under·pain noun
  • un·paining adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of pain1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English peine “punishment, torture, pain,” from Old French, from Latin poena “penalty, pain,” from Greek poinḗ “penalty”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of pain1

C13: from Old French peine, from Latin poena punishment, grief, from Greek poinē penalty

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. feel no pain, Informal. to be intoxicated:

    After all that free beer, we were feeling no pain.

  2. on / upon / under pain of, liable to the penalty of:

    on pain of death.

  3. pain in the ass, Slang: Vulgar. pain ( def 5 ).
  4. pain in the neck, Informal. pain ( def 5 ).

More idioms and phrases containing pain

  • at pains
  • feel no pain
  • for one's pains
  • growing pains
  • no pain, no gain
  • on pain of

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Synonym Study

Pain , ache , agony , anguish are terms for sensations causing suffering or torment. Pain and ache usually refer to physical sensations (except heartache ); agony and anguish may be physical or mental. Pain suggests a sudden sharp twinge: a pain in one's ankle. Ache applies to a continuous pain, whether acute or dull: headache; muscular aches. Agony implies a continuous, excruciating, scarcely endurable pain: in agony from a wound. Anguish suggests not only extreme and long-continued pain, but also a feeling of despair. See care.

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Example Sentences

When designing, consider your potential customers’ preferences and pain points.

Roughly 80 percent of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives.

Patients with myocarditis can experience chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

So it was the first time that I felt real pain of losing somebody.

From Ozy

Those people reported mostly mild side effects, such as headaches, fatigue and muscle pain.

He closed his eyes, imagining the virgins, imagining away the pain in his head and groin.

Throughout all the stories of loss and pain with the Chief, there was barely a trace of emotion.

He not only gives out pain — he is in constant, unrelenting pain.

If laughter is the best medicine, The Comeback made you feel enough pain to need a dose—and then it delivered in spades.

Just two young kids experiencing the panic, pain, and then the miracle, of new birth.

He shrank, as from some one who inflicted pain as a child, unwittingly, to see what the effect would be.

She stabbed him, noting the effect upon him with a detached interest that seemed indifferent to his pain.

Each sentence came as if torn piecemeal from his unwilling tongue; short, jerky phrases, conceived in pain and delivered in agony.

I laved his pain-twisted face with the cool water and let a few drops trickle into his open mouth.

Instinctively he tried to hide both pain and anger—it could only increase this distance that was already there.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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