Definition of pain in English:

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Pronunciation: /peɪn/


[mass noun]
1Highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury: she’s in great pain [count noun]: chest pains
More example sentences
  • Patients and their physicians are familiar with acute pain or pain caused by injury.
  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal illness of wide-spread pain and profound fatigue.
  • She is recovering at home from her injuries but still suffers pain when lifted, according to her family.
suffering, agony, affliction, torture, torment, discomfort, soreness
ache, aching, soreness, hurt, throb, throbbing, smarting, pricking, sting, stinging, twinge, shooting pain, stab, pang, spasm;
stitch, cramp;
discomfort, irritation, stiffness, tenderness
1.1 (also pain in the neck or vulgar slang arse) informal An annoying or tedious person or thing: she’s a pain
nuisance, pest, bother, vexation, irritant, source of irritation/annoyance, worry, problem, inconvenience, trial, tribulation, plague, source of aggravation, bore, thorn in the flesh, the bane of one's life
informal pain in the neck, drag
vulgar slang pain in the arse
2Mental suffering or distress: the pain of loss
More example sentences
  • The Special Adjudicator was right to consider whether it amounted to severe mental pain and suffering.
  • Of that sum £135,000 was in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
  • It was also to remember her journey through pain, sorrow, loss and deprivation.
sorrow, grief, heartache, heartbreak, sadness, unhappiness, distress, desolation, misery, wretchedness, despair, desperation, mental suffering, emotional suffering, trauma;
bitterness, anguish, affliction, tribulation, vexation, woe, agony, torment, torture
3 (pains) Great care or trouble: she took pains to see that everyone ate well
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, labour, exertion, strain, struggle
try hard, make a great effort, make an effort, make every effort, spare no effort, take (great) pains, take care, put oneself out, apply oneself, exert oneself;
strive, endeavour, try, struggle, battle, labour, toil, strain, work, aim;
do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, give (it) one's all, go all out
informal bend/fall/lean over backwards, give it one's best shot


[with object]
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, ache, throb, smart, burn, prickle, sting, pinch, twinge, cause discomfort, be tender
informal kill
British informal play up
sadden, grieve, distress, make miserable/wretched, trouble, worry, bother, perturb, disturb, oppress, harrow, cause anguish to, afflict;
cut to the quick, mortify, torment, torture, wound, sting, gnaw at
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 one’s efforts: 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: get them knees up—no pain, no gain!
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: they proscribed all such practices on pain of death
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 offence'): from Old French peine, from Latin poena 'penalty', later 'pain'.

  • This goes back to Latin poena which originally meant ‘penalty’ and later came to mean ‘pain’, and is also the source of to pine (Old English) ‘to long for', but originally meaning ‘to suffer’; penal; and penalty [both LME]. Punish (Middle English) comes from the related verb punire. Pain in the neck dates from the 1920s; from this, a pain for an annoying person developed in the 1930s. Although the phrase no pain, no gain is associated with exercise classes from the 1980s, the two words have been associated since the 16th century and ‘No Pains, No Gains’ is the title of a 1648 poem by Robert Herrick.

Words that rhyme with pain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

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Line breaks: pain

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