Definition of painful in US English:

painful

adjective

  • 1(of a part of the body) affected with pain.

    ‘her ankle was very painful’
    • ‘Alternatively, smoke from burning moxa can be wafted over the painful area of the body using a smoke box.’
    • ‘Spend some time in one of the cafes, the atmosphere and the views in front of you will soothe your painful feet and muscles.’
    • ‘In judo this might end up in a throw; in aikido, into a painful arm or body manipulation.’
    • ‘Months later, there is still a mark on my foot, and the joints of the big toe are painful, and one of the other toes is starting to hurt too.’
    • ‘It may help to lie still on their back with the knee bent outwards on the painful side, and their foot pointed away from the body.’
    • ‘The prisoner told the court he had wanted to bind his painful feet with the sheets.’
    • ‘Surely he would be better in a wheelchair without this intractably painful foot, and no longer having the risk of falling all the time.’
    • ‘If the cartilage is worn away, by arthritis for example, it can make the joint painful and stiff.’
    • ‘Try to do the following to reduce the stress on painful joints in your feet, knees, hips and back.’
    • ‘The stiffer and more painful my hip became, the harder I tried to do something about it.’
    • ‘The salve can also be applied to all inflamed joints and painful parts of the body.’
    • ‘For example, arthritis is a long-term condition that causes painful and stiff joints.’
    • ‘Follow this with a massage of the painful and aching areas with the following ointment.’
    • ‘Tony explained last week that the shins, the area of his body he is offering to have tattooed are the most painful part of the body to get tattooed.’
    • ‘She was suffering from a painful right foot recently and so visited her family doctor.’
    • ‘Her toe was just the start; the disorder would eventually spread through her body, making it twisted and painful.’
    • ‘With each treatment the foot has become less painful, more malleable and is gradually turning a healthier colour.’
    • ‘I couldn't clean between my toes because my feet were so painful to touch.’
    • ‘I feel bloated and sick and have palpitations, a headache, my joints are stiff and painful and I am sweating.’
    • ‘About a third of people with psoriatic arthritis also have a stiff, painful, lower back or neck.’
    sore, hurting, hurt, tender, aching, throbbing, smarting, burning, irritating, agonizing, excruciating
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Causing physical pain.
      ‘a painful knock’
      • ‘While he was doubled over, she reached for anything heavy, turning onto her stomach with painful difficulty.’
      • ‘Regaining range of motion in the knee was the most difficult, most painful part.’
      • ‘He endured years of painful physical therapy after being adopted by Mia.’
      • ‘She has been left with blurred vision and painful burns to her body.’
      • ‘Complete mastery of the body includes what appear to be very painful exercises pursued apparently without pain.’
      • ‘Hiking boots are obviously a much better idea for moving around in, but the trade off can be feet so cold and painful that your whole day can be spoilt.’
      • ‘Shingles causes a painful rash of small blisters that typically appear on the body, often in a band on the chest and back.’
      • ‘Difficult or painful swallowing may both change the voice and interfere with eating.’
      • ‘He was lean and muscular, but painful scars and sores ran across his body like tattoos.’
      • ‘The patches become itchy and painful, causing both physical and psychological discomfort.’
      • ‘A sharp painful sensation shook through her body and she flew back a good twenty feet.’
      • ‘Sunil Kumar was troubled by a painful shoulder and thus could not do justice to his entry.’
      • ‘With a shock he inhaled sharply, as if recovering his breath in a gasp after a hard painful effort.’
      • ‘It seemed as though most of my actions in the winter months were in the hopes of getting rid of the painful ache of the cold that had burrowed its way into my bones.’
      • ‘Muscle cramping is a painful, involuntary muscle spasm that regularly frustrates athletes.’
      • ‘The pressure of the water on your body can reduce swelling if you have painful injuries.’
      • ‘People with interstitial cystitis may have painful spasms of the pelvic floor muscles.’
      • ‘If a blood clot develops in one of them, painful swelling can result.’
      • ‘Clinical symptoms include painful urination, frequency, urgency, and pain lower abdomen.’
      • ‘Ark shifted his now stiff and painful limbs and began to stretch as if he were awakening from a deep sleep.’
    2. 1.2 Causing distress or trouble.
      ‘a painful experience’
      ‘change is inevitably slow and painful’
      • ‘The thing is, you see, I have learned from painful experience that kids are not necessarily adept at sticking to a schedule.’
      • ‘The project will be remembered by both parties as a painful experience with no winners.’
      • ‘Often eating disorders are a coping strategy women use to deal with painful emotions and experiences.’
      • ‘She looked torn for a moment, as though she was thinking about a painful experience.’
      • ‘A burn injury and its subsequent treatment are among the most painful experiences a person can encounter.’
      • ‘Make sure the bike fits you and not the other way round otherwise a few days of cycling might be an uncomfortable or painful experience.’
      • ‘This machine can check how deep a burn is without removing bandages which can be a very painful experience for children.’
      • ‘The learning experience can be painful for a young pitcher if his team is in a fierce fight for a title.’
      • ‘An overwhelming number of north west mums say they found giving birth a more painful experience than they ever imagined.’
      • ‘For two years hitting the low notes on his horn had been a painful experience and he attributed his aching jaw to impacted wisdom teeth.’
      • ‘Watching the results on television was a rather painful experience because counting was so slow.’
      • ‘They felt some of the impact of their painful and distressing symptoms had been eased.’
      • ‘Dukkha-dukkha may be associated with painful and unpleasant experience such as receiving a knock or having a sore tooth.’
      • ‘All that remains of his painful experience, save for a few unwelcome memories, is the metalwork that is to be removed next summer.’
      • ‘The two items she is showing express the painful experiences of her people and her own family.’
      • ‘It is the first time he has rebelled since he lost the lord chancellorship in a bitter and painful reshuffle in June 2003.’
      • ‘Filling up your car can a painful experience, as can searching for the cheapest gas in town.’
      • ‘The most painful experience a human being can feel is that his parents do not love him.’
      • ‘The most painful experience of my life bar none was as a result of a checklist probe, a cystoscopy.’
      • ‘Often what he expresses is the failure of sight, implying a painful or traumatic experience or image.’
      distressing, unpleasant, nasty, bitter, awful, disquieting, disturbing, upsetting, traumatic, miserable, wretched, sad, heartbreaking, heart-rending, agonizing, harrowing, mortifying
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

painful

/ˈpeɪnfəl//ˈpānfəl/