1. Full of or giving pain: a painful shoulder; painful walking.
a. Causing mental anguish or suffering: It was painful for him to admit he was wrong.
b. Distressing or embarrassing: A painful silence followed his remark.
c. Requiring care and labor; difficult or irksome: a painful way of fixing the problem.
3. Marked by or requiring great care and diligence: gave the matter painful consideration.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.