painful

[peyn-fuhl]
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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.

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 for painful

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1. distressing, torturing, agonizing, tormenting, excruciating. 2. arduous.

Antonyms for painful

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

Related Words for painfully

achingly, carefully, slowly, painstakingly, sorely, tortuously

Examples from the Web for painfully

Contemporary Examples of painfully

Historical Examples of painfully

  • 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
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper