Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

painful

[peyn-fuh l]
See more synonyms for painful on Thesaurus.com
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.
Show More

Origin of painful

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at pain, -ful
Related formspain·ful·ly, adverbpain·ful·ness, nouno·ver·pain·ful, adjectiveo·ver·pain·ful·ly, adverbo·ver·pain·ful·ness, nounun·pain·ful, adjectiveun·pain·ful·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for painful on Thesaurus.com
1. distressing, torturing, agonizing, tormenting, excruciating. 2. arduous.

Antonyms

2. easy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

adjective
  1. causing pain; distressinga painful duty
  2. affected with paina painful leg
  3. tedious or difficult
  4. informal extremely bada painful performance
Show More
Derived Formspainfully, adverbpainfulness, 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

Word Origin and History for painfully

painful

adj.

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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper