[ peyn ]
See synonyms for: painpainedpains on

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

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

  1. mental or emotional suffering or torment: I am sorry my news causes you such pain.

  2. pains,

    • laborious or careful efforts; assiduous care: Great pains have been taken to repair the engine perfectly.

    • the suffering of childbirth.

  3. 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.

verb (used without object)
  1. to have or give pain.

Idioms about pain

  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.

  1. pain in the ass, Slang: Vulgar. pain (def. 5).

  2. pain in the neck, Informal. pain (def. 5).

Origin of pain

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

synonym study For pain

1-3. 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. 4a. See care.

Other words for pain

Opposites for pain

Other words from pain

  • un·der·pain, noun
  • un·pain·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pain in a sentence

  • It bled little; Grettir slept well that night and three days passed without its paining him.

  • Charley would have liked to have made the trip himself, but his arm was paining him so intensely that he decided to remain behind.

  • They said nothing except that King said he believed his left leg was broken, and it was paining him a good deal.

  • As we grew older we grew afraid of paining her with questions.

    My Little Sister | Elizabeth Robins
  • His right hand was bleeding vigorously and paining a good deal, but his finger was still on the trigger and Wilbur fired again.

    The Boy With the U. S. Foresters | Francis Rolt-Wheeler

British Dictionary definitions for pain


/ (peɪn) /

  1. the sensation of acute physical hurt or discomfort caused by injury, illness, etc

  2. emotional suffering or mental distress

  1. on pain of subject to the penalty of

  2. Also called: pain in the neck, (taboo) pain in the arse informal a person or thing that is a nuisance

  1. to cause (a person) distress, hurt, grief, anxiety, etc

  2. informal to annoy; irritate

Origin of pain

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

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pain


In addition to the idioms beginning with pain

  • pain in the neck

also see:

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

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