Anything painful hurts a lot — either physically or emotionally. Your sprained ankle may be painful, but so is your broken heart.

When something is physically painful, it hurts your body in some way, like a painful burn or a painful paper cut. Other things hurt just as much, but in an emotional way, like a painful separation from your cat when you go to summer camp. You can also use this adjective informally to mean really bad: "The wedding band's attempt at 'Stairway to Heaven' was just painful."

Definitions of painful
  1. adjective
    causing physical or psychological pain
    “worked with painful slowness”
    causing or capable of causing harm
    reflecting lack of pity or compassion
    aching, achy
    causing a dull and steady pain
    agonised, agonized
    expressing pain or agony
    agonising, agonizing, excruciating, harrowing, torturesome, torturing, torturous
    extremely painful
    biting, bitter
    causing a sharply painful or stinging sensation; used especially of cold
    chafed, galled
    painful from having the skin abraded
    keenly distressing to the mind or feelings
    causing an irritating cutaneous sensation; being affect with an itch
    racking, wrenching
    causing great physical or mental suffering
    (of a rider) sore after riding a horse
    raw, sensitive, sore, tender
    psychologically painful;"few experiences are more traumatic than losing a child";
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    not causing physical or psychological pain
    not causing or capable of causing harm
    pain-free, unpainful
    not accompanied by pain sensations
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  2. adjective
    causing physical discomfort
    “they can be very painful
    synonyms: irritating
    providing or experiencing physical discomfort
  3. adjective
    causing misery or pain or distress
    “the painful process of growing up”
    synonyms: afflictive, sore
    disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings
  4. adjective
    exceptionally bad or displeasing
    “a painful performance”
    synonyms: abominable, abysmal, atrocious, awful, dreadful, terrible, unspeakable, vile
    having undesirable or negative qualities
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