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

  • n. A sudden sharp spasm of pain. See Synonyms at pain.
  • n. A sudden sharp feeling of emotional distress.
  • transitive v. To cause to feel pangs; distress acutely.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. paroxysm of extreme physical pain or anguish; sudden and transitory agony;throe
  • n. A sharp, sudden feeling of a mental or emotional nature, as of joy or sorrow
  • v. to torment; to torture; to cause to have great pain or suffering

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A paroxysm of extreme pain or anguish; a sudden and transitory agony; a throe.
  • transitive v. To torture; to cause to have great pain or suffering; to torment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to suffer a pang or pangs; pain; torture.
  • To press; cram, in any way; cram with food.
  • n. A sudden paroxysm of pain; a transitory or recurring attack of agony; an acute painful spasm; a throe; hence, a sudden and bitter sentiment of sorrow, disappointment, injury, etc.
  • n. Synonyms Anguish, Torture, etc. (see agony), twinge, gripe, ache, suffering.

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

  • n. a sharp spasm of pain
  • n. a mental pain or distress
  • n. a sudden sharp feeling


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English *pange, an altered form of prange, pronge ("pang, throe, stab etc.") (Wiktionary)


  • The pang is over, his sufferings are at an end for ever.

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  • Julia felt a certain pang at the thought of judgment being passed so lightly upon all those months or years of hard authorial labour.

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  • That grief – the one great grief of their life, had come to her more wholesomely than to her husband: either because men, the very best of men, can only suffer, while women can endure; or because in the mysterious ordinance of nature Maud's baby lips had sucked away the bitterness of the pang from the bereaved mother, while her loss was yet new.

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  • Destruction waits on all who would steal one pang from the racked heart of William Wallace!

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  • Its pang is short-lived, and the face of the field-cornet soon lightens up again as he looks around upon his dear children, so full of hope and promise.

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  • It gave him, he said in Parliament, a deep pang; and, as he uttered the word pang, his lip quivered, his voice shook, he paused, and his hearers thought that he was about to burst into tears.

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  • "I do not fear to die," she said; "that pang is past.

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  • A pang is a paroxysm of extreme pain or anguish; a sudden and transitory agony; a throe; as, the pangs of death.

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  • I have just been contending with a severe pang, that is now gone off; what effect its return may have, God only knows.



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  • This is the word used for a gunshot in my German translation of a Tin Tin story (Der blaue Lotos).

    April 8, 2008