Definition of sore in English:

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Pronunciation: /sɔː/


1(Of a part of one’s body) painful or aching: she had a sore throat
More example sentences
  • My whole body was sore and my legs ached as I made my way to the cafeteria.
  • By Tuesday, your throat is sore, your joints ache and you feel lousy.
  • I mean headache, sore throat, muscle ache, stomachache, fever, and all that good stuff.
painful, in pain, hurting, hurt, aching, throbbing, smarting, stinging, burning, irritating, irritated, agonizing, excruciating;
inflamed, angry, red, reddened, sensitive, tender, delicate, chafed, raw, bruised, wounded, injured
1.1Suffering pain from a part of one’s body: he was sore from the long ride
More example sentences
  • The landing stunned me and I was really sore and in pain.
  • Either way, never use more weight than you can handle with perfect form, and slow down if you feel pain during a workout or are especially sore or stiff the next day.
  • I'm already so sore inside that a little pain outside might actually be welcome, to create some equilibrium.
2 [predicative] informal, chiefly North American Upset and angry: I didn’t even know they were sore at us
More example sentences
  • Kamaria glowered, still sore at having not noticed Link's talent sooner and angry at Linden for agreeing with him.
  • The Pacific Islander community is surely sore at being left out.
  • Bear and Tiger became my friend but falcon was still sore at me for nearly killing him the first time we meet in the master's house.
upset, angry, annoyed, cross, angered, furious, enraged, in a temper, bothered, vexed, displeased, disgruntled, dissatisfied, indignant, exasperated, irritated, galled, irked, put out, aggrieved, offended, affronted, resentful, piqued, nettled, ruffled, in high dudgeon
informal aggravated, miffed, peeved, riled, hacked off, peed off
British informal narked, eggy, cheesed off, browned off, brassed off, not best pleased
North American informal teed off, ticked off, steamed
vulgar slang pissed off
3 [attributive] Severe; urgent: we’re in sore need of him
More example sentences
  • He said the annual extravaganza, held in Aberystwyth, was in sore need of funds.
dire, urgent, pressing, desperate, critical, crucial, acute, grave, serious, intense, crying, burning, compelling, drastic, extreme, life-and-death, great, very great, terrible
archaic or humorous parlous
rare exigent


1A raw or painful place on the body: all of us had sores and infections on our hands
More example sentences
  • He was lean and muscular, but painful scars and sores ran across his body like tattoos.
  • A mouth ulcer is a painful sore in the mouth on either the cheeks or gums.
  • Painful spots or blisters turn into open sores, which scab over and heal.
inflammation, swelling, lesion;
wound, scrape, abrasion, chafe, cut, laceration, graze, contusion, bruise;
running sore, ulcer, ulceration, boil, abscess, carbuncle, canker
1.1A cause or source of distress or annoyance: there’s no point raking over the past and opening old sores
More example sentences
  • It was a nasty game where old sores festered and attempts were made to settle long standing bitterness.
  • The Secretary argued that the reopening of all these old sores would benefit none but Germany.
  • The traditionalists of the discontinuant left keep scratching the same old sores.


Extremely; severely: they were sore afraid
More example sentences
  • The eclipse started, the natives were sore afraid, and Columbus eventually agreed to ‘return the Moon’ in return for food.
  • And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
  • And such men were sore afraid for the sons of Kahn.



sore point

An issue about which someone feels distressed or annoyed and which it is therefore advisable to avoid raising with them.
Example sentences
  • Another issue that constitutes a sore point in international criminal proceedings is the media coverage of the detention and trial of the accused.
  • American carriers, always a sore point for the enemy since the ships had escaped the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, were the prime targets in the Philippine invasion.
  • She knew that had always been a sore point between them.

stand (or stick) out like a sore thumb

Be very obviously different from the surrounding people or things: you stick out like a sore thumb in that ghastly uniform
More example sentences
  • The café was busy and loud, if people took the time to notice, we stood out like a sore thumb.
  • The centre has stuck out like a sore thumb for many, many years and at last something is being done.
  • The Times said that the theft was clearly the work of ‘a suspect, a scientist [who] stuck out like a sore thumb.’


Old English sār (noun and adjective), sāre (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zeer 'sore' and German sehr 'very'. The original sense was 'causing intense pain, grievous', whence the adverbial use.

Words that rhyme with sore

abhor, adore, afore, anymore, ashore, awe, bandore, Bangalore, before, boar, Boer, bore, caw, chore, claw, cocksure, comprador, cor, core, corps, craw, Delors, deplore, door, draw, drawer, evermore, explore, flaw, floor, for, forbore, fore, foresaw, forevermore, forswore, four, fourscore, furthermore, Gábor, galore, gnaw, gore, grantor, guarantor, guffaw, hard-core, Haugh, haw, hoar, ignore, implore, Indore, interwar, jaw, Johor, Lahore, law, lessor, lor, lore, macaw, man-o'-war, maw, mirador, mor, more, mortgagor, Mysore, nevermore, nor, oar, obligor, offshore, onshore, open-jaw, or, ore, outdoor, outwore, paw, poor, pore, pour, rapport, raw, roar, saw, scaur, score, senhor, señor, shaw, ship-to-shore, shop-floor, shore, signor, Singapore, snore, soar, softcore, spore, store, straw, swore, Tagore, tau, taw, thaw, Thor, threescore, tor, tore, torr, trapdoor, tug-of-war, two-by-four, underfloor, underscore, war, warrantor, Waugh, whore, withdraw, wore, yaw, yore, your

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