from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder.
  • n. Suffering or distress.
  • n. The pangs of childbirth.
  • n. Great care or effort: take pains with one's work.
  • n. Informal A source of annoyance; a nuisance.
  • transitive v. To cause pain to; hurt or injure.
  • intransitive v. To be the cause of pain.
  • idiom on Subject to the penalty of (a specified punishment, such as death).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ache or bodily suffering, or an instance of this; an unpleasant sensation, resulting from a derangement of functions, disease, or injury by violence; hurt.
  • n. The condition or fact of suffering or anguish especially mental, as opposed to pleasure; torment; distress; sadness; grief; solicitude; disquietude.
  • n. An annoying person or thing.
  • n. (obsolete) Suffering seen as a punishment or penalty.
  • v. To hurt; to put to bodily uneasiness or anguish; to afflict with uneasy sensations of any degree of intensity; to torment; to torture.
  • v. To render uneasy in mind; to disquiet; to distress; to grieve.
  • v. (obsolete) To inflict suffering upon as a penalty; to punish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Punishment suffered or denounced; suffering or evil inflicted as a punishment for crime, or connected with the commission of a crime; penalty.
  • n. Any uneasy sensation in animal bodies, from slight uneasiness to extreme distress or torture, proceeding from a derangement of functions, disease, or injury by violence; bodily distress; bodily suffering; an ache; a smart.
  • n. Specifically, the throes or travail of childbirth.
  • n. Uneasiness of mind; mental distress; disquietude; anxiety; grief; solicitude; anguish. Also called mental pain.
  • n. See Pains, labor, effort.
  • transitive v. To inflict suffering upon as a penalty; to punish.
  • transitive v. To put to bodily uneasiness or anguish; to afflict with uneasy sensations of any degree of intensity; to torment; to torture
  • transitive v. To render uneasy in mind; to disquiet; to distress; to grieve.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inflict suffering upon as a penalty or punishment; torture; punish.
  • To trouble or annoy with physical or mental suffering.
  • To render uneasy in mind; trouble or annoy with mental suffering; distress; disquiet; grieve.
  • To cause to take pains; put to exertion: used reflexively.
  • To put to trouble or pains.
  • Synonyms To hurt, agonize, torment, torture, rack, excruciate.
  • To suffer; be afflicted with pain.
  • n. Penalty; punishment suffered or denounced; suffering or evil inflicted as a punishment for a crime, or annexed to the commission of a crime.
  • n. Uneasiness or distress of body or of mind; bodily or mental suffering.
  • n. Specifically — In the plural, the throes or distress of travail or childbirth.
  • n. Uneasiness of mind; mental distress; disquietude; anxiety; solicitude; grief; sorrow.
  • n. Labor; exertion; endeavor; especially, labor characterized by great care, or by assiduous attention to detail and a desire to secure the best results; care or trouble taken in doing something: used chiefly in the plural: as, to spare no pains to be accurate; to be at great pains or to take great pains in doing something. The form pains has been used by good writers as a singular, as in the quotation from Shakspere below.
  • n. Trouble; difficulty.
  • n. Synonyms Pain, Ache, Twinge. All the words expressing physical pain are applicable, by familiar and therefore not emphatic figure, to pain of mind. Pain is the general term; ache represents a continued local pain; it is often compounded with a word expressing the place, as headache, toothache. Twinge represents a sudden, momentary pain, as though one had been griped or wrung. See agony.
  • n. 2 . Bitterness, heartache, affliction, woe, burden.
  • n. Bread.
  • n. An obsolete spelling of pane.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a bothersome annoying person
  • n. something or someone that causes trouble; a source of unhappiness
  • n. a somatic sensation of acute discomfort
  • v. cause emotional anguish or make miserable
  • v. cause bodily suffering to and make sick or indisposed
  • n. emotional distress; a fundamental feeling that people try to avoid
  • n. a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder


Middle English, from Old French peine, from Latin poena, penalty, pain, from Greek poinē, penalty; see kwei-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French and Anglo-Norman peine, paine, from Latin poena ("punishment, pain"), from Ancient Greek ποινή (poinê, "bloodmoney, were-gild, fine, price paid, penalty"). Compare German Pein, Dutch pijn, Afrikaans pyn. (Wiktionary)


  • We should also note that the pain scientists themselves who wrote up the IASP definition of ˜pain™ and the accompanying note seem to side with Dennett on the truth of (14).


  • But in the case of pain, we don't seem to semantically apply PAIN, or ˜pain™ for that matter, to tissue damage.


  • I think I just like saying I'm a pagan to enjoy the pain on the faces of all the Christians..pain first, then shock, then righteous indignation...hope your feeling better soon...

    A Declaration of Faith

  • All that tearing down Don had been doing, ripping out cabinets, extra studs, lath and plaster, the house was writhing with the pain of it like having its teeth pulled, and now this, whatever he was doing, this new sound, the house was in _pain_.


  • There is no better way of testing whether pain has been felt than by taking the lacerated or contused gums of the patient between the index finger and thumb and making a gentle pressure to collapse the alveolar borders; invariably, they will cry out lustily, _that is pain_!

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 275, April 9, 1881

  • The conscious infliction of pain _for the sake of the pain_ is against the better nature of man, and it is unsafe and demoralizing for any one to undertake this duty.

    Anticipations Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human life and Thought

  • In the early hours of that day a knot of women, one of them beating a drum, others lugubriously chanting _du pain, du pain_, bread, bread, appeared in the streets of Paris.

    The French Revolution A Short History

  • Therefore in the balance between the pleasure of general _society_, and the pain of absolute solitude, _pain_ is the predominant idea.

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 01 (of 12)

  • This nerve also senses facial pain, so as the signals are conducted the brain interprets the pain as coming from the forehead - the same \ "referred pain\" phenomenon seen in heart attacks.

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  • As the pain that can be told is but half a pain, so the pity that questions has little healing in its touch.
    -Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

    July 26, 2009

  • "Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters."
    - Jim Morrison.

    February 12, 2009

  • Pain with a capital P:
    In Primal Theory, "Primal Pain is deprivation or injury which threatens the developing child. A parent's warning is not necessarily a Primal Pain for the child. Utter humiliation is...An infant left to cry it out in the crib is in Pain...It is not hurt as such which defines Primal Pain but rather the context of the hurt or its meaning to the impressionable developing consciousness of the child."

    Arthur Janov described Pain as the pain that doesn't hurt because, as soon as they go into it, it becomes simply feeling. Most of the suffering component is in the blockage or repression.


    February 24, 2008

  • Bread (French).

    November 28, 2007

  • "Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something."

    (Westley, The Princess Bride)

    January 28, 2007

  • "It's a lie, a kiss with open eyes
    And she's not breathing back
    Anything but bother me
    It takes my pain away

    Never mind, these are hurried times
    I can't let it bother me"

    January 2, 2007