Definition of painful in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪnfʊl/
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪnf(ə)l/


1(Of a part of the body) affected with pain: her ankle was very painful
More example sentences
  • Tony explained last week that the shins, the area of his body he is offering to have tattooed are the most painful part of the body to get tattooed.
  • Alternatively, smoke from burning moxa can be wafted over the painful area of the body using a smoke box.
  • In judo this might end up in a throw; in aikido, into a painful arm or body manipulation.
sore, hurting, hurt, tender, aching, throbbing, smarting, burning, irritating, agonizing, excruciating
informal gut-wrenching
1.1Causing physical pain: a painful knock
More example sentences
  • The patches become itchy and painful, causing both physical and psychological discomfort.
  • He endured years of painful physical therapy after being adopted by Mia.
  • While he was doubled over, she reached for anything heavy, turning onto her stomach with painful difficulty.
1.2Causing distress or trouble: a painful experience
More example sentences
  • Make sure the bike fits you and not the other way round otherwise a few days of cycling might be an uncomfortable or painful experience.
  • Often what he expresses is the failure of sight, implying a painful or traumatic experience or image.
  • They felt some of the impact of their painful and distressing symptoms had been eased.
1.3 informal Very bad: their attempts at reggae are painful
More example sentences
  • Going by the contortions of your average rock band, music is a painful and terribly serious duty.
  • Racism is a pernicious influence, but it's also a dangerous and painful accusation to level against someone.
  • I know it's serious, and very painful, but you can't help laughing when you read that



Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪnfʊlnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪnf(ə)lnəs/
Example sentences
  • Lately I've been thinking - and dreaming - about people I've loved who have died, about the painfulness of losing them and how it never really goes away, just becomes different with the passage of time.
  • Having lived alone for periods at one time, I can vouch for its painfulness; and also the opportunity for self-examination.
  • Having previously described the painfulness of chest tube removal, my colleagues and I decided to intervene.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pain|ful

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