Definition of pain in English:


Syllabification: pain
Pronunciation: /pān


  • 2 (pains) Careful effort; great care or trouble: she took pains to see that everyone ate well he is at pains to point out that he isn’t like that
    More example sentences
    • Howard was at pains to point out, however, that the labour needed to run a system like his would not be available to the vast majority of farmers.
    • While always judged in retrospect in terms of their ability to predict a result, pollsters are at pains to emphasise that their numbers should never be regarded as predictive.
    • He was at pains to stress that there won't be any pressure put on the newer members of the team, saying that he felt there had been ‘too much talk’ about some of them.
    care, effort, bother, trouble


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Cause mental or physical pain to: it pains me to say this her legs had been paining her
    More example sentences
    • He was almost physically pained by rigid doctrinal systems, and mildly revolted by the idea of discipleship.
    • It physically pains me to give away the money which makes me feel comfortable and stable in this life.
    • Lain's eyes completely washed over with emotions and for some reason it pained her physically for she had never ever felt any kind of emotions but anger.
    hurt, cause pain, be painful, be sore, be tender, ache, throb, sting, twinge, cause discomfort
    informal kill one
    sadden, grieve, distress, trouble, perturb, oppress, cause anguish to
  • 1.1 [no object] chiefly North American (Of a part of the body) hurt: sometimes my right hand would pain
    More example sentences
    • His head spun and his body pained in various areas until he was forced to lie once again and sit up with a slower pace.
    • I moved slowly, feeling soft fabric around me, though my body pained me.
    • I wanted to see it so much my chest ached and pained with the frustration.


for one's pains

informal As an unfairly bad return for efforts or trouble: he was sued for his pains
More example sentences
  • You'll only get kicked and beaten and trampled on for your pains.
  • Hal displays a couple of good trout, but the competitive youngsters Martin and Jim have nothing to show for their pains.
  • Examiners of my essays constantly warn me about the perils of this ‘Post-Doctoral Thesis’ tendency, and I often incur mediocre marks for my pains.

no pain, no gain

Suffering is necessary in order to achieve something.
[originally used as a slogan in fitness classes]
More example sentences
  • ‘I intend to defend my title, regardless’ And as the old saying goes, no pain, no gain.
  • So you cannot empower people, you have to give them the opportunities to develop their skills to become empowered to deal with these matters; no pain, no gain, that is basically it.
  • He has picked up a nasty gash on his leg, though, bleeds quite heavily and limps for the best part of the following week, but no pain, no gain, right?

on (or under) pain of

The penalty for disobedience or shortcoming being: all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment
More example sentences
  • This effectively prevents the authority from supporting any other cinema site under pain of financial penalty.
  • A 15-year deal will have certain conditions which must be fulfilled on pain of penalties being imposed.
  • They could disobey orders only on pain of death.


Middle English (in the sense 'suffering inflicted as punishment for an offense'): from Old French peine, from Latin poena 'penalty', later 'pain'.

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