If you feel pain, you feel acute physical or emotional discomfort. A sprained ankle will pain you. So will news of a loved one's death. If you "take pain" over something, it means you're being careful.

An annoying person can be described as a pain––it's understood that they don't cause you actual physical pain, but cause you emotional discomfort and distress. You can also describe this person as a "pain in the neck," "a pain in the butt," or "a royal pain."

Definitions of pain

n a somatic sensation of acute discomfort

“as the intensity increased the sensation changed from tickle to pain
pain sensation, painful sensation
pain in the area of the ovary that is felt at the time of ovulation (usually midway through the menstrual cycle)
phantom limb pain
pain felt by an amputee that seems to be located in the missing limb
a sharp stab of pain
Type of:
somaesthesia, somatesthesia, somatic sensation, somesthesia
the perception of tactual or proprioceptive or gut sensations

n a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder

“the patient developed severe pain and distension”
show 58 types...
hide 58 types...
ache, aching
a dull persistent (usually moderately intense) pain
agony, excruciation, suffering
a state of acute pain
pain in a joint or joints
burn, burning
pain that feels hot as if it were on fire
a burning pain in a limb along the course of a peripheral nerve; usually associated with skin changes
colic, gripes, griping, intestinal colic
acute abdominal pain (especially in infants)
chest pain
pain in the chest
a pain in the hand that is not traumatic
extreme physical pain
painful menstruation
glossalgia, glossodynia
pain in the tongue
growing pains
pain in muscles or joints sometimes experienced by children and often attributed to rapid growth
haemorrhoid, hemorrhoid, piles
pain caused by venous swelling at or inside the anal sphincter
pain in the cornea
labor pain
pain and discomfort associated with contractions of the uterus during labor
pain in the breast
rheumatic or myalgic pains in the arms or legs
pain in the thigh
pain in the uterus
myalgia, myodynia
pain in a muscle or group of muscles
pain in the kidney (usually felt in the loins)
neuralgia, neuralgy
acute spasmodic pain along the course of one or more nerves
severe pain on swallowing due to a disorder of the esophagus
pain in the testes
a sharp spasm of pain
pang, sting
a mental pain or distress
photalgia, photophobia
pain in the eye resulting from exposure to bright light (often associated with albinism)
costalgia, pleuralgia, pleurodynia
pain in the chest caused by inflammation of the muscles between the ribs
foot pain
pain in the rectum
referred pain
pain that is felt at a place in the body different from the injured or diseased part where the pain would be expected
renal colic
sharp pain in the lower back that radiates into the groin; associated with the passage of a renal calculus through the ureter
smart, smarting, smartness
a kind of pain such as that caused by a wound or a burn or a sore
sting, stinging
a kind of pain; something as sudden and painful as being stung
a sharp spasm of pain in the side resulting from running
rawness, soreness, tenderness
a pain that is felt (as when the area is touched)
pain caused by heat
a deep pulsating type of pain
torment, torture
unbearable physical pain
pain in the gums
pain during urination
soreness or irritation of the skin caused by friction
lead colic, painter's colic
symptom of chronic lead poisoning and associated with obstinate constipation
odontalgia, toothache
an ache localized in or around a tooth
severe spasm of pain
Passion, Passion of Christ
the suffering of Jesus at the Crucifixion
an ache localized in the back
primary dysmenorrhea
painful menstruation that is intrinsic to menstruation and not the result of a disease
secondary dysmenorrhea
painful menstruation that is caused by some specific disorder (as endometriosis)
cephalalgia, head ache, headache
pain in the head caused by dilation of cerebral arteries or muscle contractions or a reaction to drugs
bellyache, gastralgia, stomach ache, stomachache
an ache localized in the stomach or abdominal region
earache, otalgia
an ache localized in the middle or inner ear
tic douloureux, trigeminal neuralgia
intense paroxysmal neuralgia along the trigeminal nerve
neuralgia along the sciatic nerve
birth pangs, labor pains, labour pains
a regularly recurrent spasm of pain that is characteristic of childbirth
pains felt by a woman after her baby is born; associated with contractions of the uterus
rebound tenderness
pain felt when a hand pressing on the abdomen is suddenly released; a symptom of peritoneal inflammation
soreness and warmth caused by friction
Type of:
(medicine) any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease

n emotional distress; a fundamental feeling that people try to avoid

“the pain of loneliness”
pleasance, pleasure
a fundamental feeling that is hard to define but that people desire to experience
show 12 types...
hide 12 types...
growing pains
emotional distress arising during adolescence
the feeling caused by disagreeable stimuli; one pole of a continuum of states of feeling
mental anguish
sustained dull painful emotion
hurt, suffering
feelings of mental or physical pain
distress, hurt, suffering
psychological suffering
agony, torment, torture
intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
violent pangs of suffering
discomfort, irritation, soreness
an uncomfortable feeling of mental painfulness or distress
anguish, torment, torture
extreme mental distress
self-torment, self-torture
self-imposed distress
(Yiddish) trouble and suffering
a figurative injury (to your feelings or pride)
Type of:
the experiencing of affective and emotional states

n something or someone that causes trouble; a source of unhappiness

annoyance, bother, botheration, infliction, pain in the ass, pain in the neck
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
(law) a broad legal concept including anything that disturbs the reasonable use of your property or endangers life and health or is offensive
irritant, thorn
something that causes irritation and annoyance
an annoyance
abatable nuisance
a nuisance that can remedied (suppressed or extinguished or rendered harmless)
attractive nuisance
anything on your premises that might attract children into danger or harm
mixed nuisance
a nuisance that is both a public nuisance and a private nuisance at the same time
private nuisance
a nuisance that interferes with your interest in and private use and enjoyment of your land
common nuisance, public nuisance
a nuisance that unreasonably interferes with a right that is common to the general public
Type of:
negative stimulus
a stimulus with undesirable consequences

n a bothersome annoying person

“that kid is a terrible pain
nuisance, pain in the neck
Type of:
disagreeable person, unpleasant person
a person who is not pleasant or agreeable

v cause bodily suffering to and make sick or indisposed

ail, trouble
break out, erupt, recrudesce
become raw or open
Type of:
give trouble or pain to

v cause emotional anguish or make miserable

“It pains me to see my children not being taught well in school”
anguish, hurt
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
break someone's heart
cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
agonise, agonize
cause to agonize
give pain or trouble to
excruciate, rack, torment, torture
torment emotionally or mentally
Type of:
discomfit, discompose, disconcert, untune, upset
cause to lose one's composure

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.