a. An unpleasant feeling occurring as a result of injury or disease, usually localized in some part of the body: felt pains in his chest.
b. Bodily suffering characterized by such feelings: drugs to treat pain.
a. Mental or emotional suffering; distress.
b. An instance of this: the pains of humiliation.
3. pains The pangs of childbirth.
4. pains Great care or effort: taking pains with one's work.
5. Informal A source of annoyance; a nuisance: Stuffing all these envelopes is a real pain.
tr.v. pained, pain·ing, painsIdiom:
1. To cause physical pain to; hurt: My feet really pained me after the hike.
2. To cause mental or emotional distress to: "It pained him to remember every little thing about her" (John Irving).
on/under pain of
Subject to the penalty of (a specified punishment, such as death).
[Middle English, from Old French peine, from Latin poena, penalty, pain, from Greek poinē, penalty; see kwei-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: pain, ache, pang, stitch, throe, twinge
These nouns denote a sensation of severe physical discomfort: abdominal pain; aches in my leg; the pangs of a cramped muscle; a stitch in my side; the throes of dying; a twinge of arthritis.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus