a sudden feeling of mental or emotional distress or longing: a pang of remorse; a pang of desire.
a sudden, brief, sharp pain or physical sensation; spasm: hunger pangs.

Origin of pang

First recorded in 1495–1505; origin uncertain

Synonyms for pang Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pang

Contemporary Examples of pang

Historical Examples of pang

  • Here the pang suddenly struck her; she was not so numb, after all!


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • She could never have believed she could have felt such a pang.

  • There was a pride in the statement with regard to which my first feeling was a pang of envy.

  • A pang as of death went through her at the thought that she had not spoken.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • If there was a pang, Betty pretended to herself that there was none.

British Dictionary definitions for pang



a sudden brief sharp feeling, as of loneliness, physical pain, or hunger

Word Origin for pang

C16: variant of earlier prange, of Germanic origin
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 pang

1520s, "sudden physical pain," of unknown origin, perhaps related to prong (prongys of deth is recorded from mid-15c.). Reference to mental or emotional pain is from 1560s. Related: Pangs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pang in Medicine




A sudden sharp spasm of pain.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.