Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: peine, from Latin poena, from Greek poine 'payment, punishment'

pain

1 noun
     
pain1 S2 W2
1 [uncountable and countable] the feeling you have when part of your body hurtsCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
have a pain in your stomach/leg/side etc be in pain chest pain/back pain/neck pain etc severe/terrible/chronic pain sharp pain (=a short but severe pain) excruciating pain (=very severe pain) dull pain (=one that is not severe but continues for a long time) nagging pain (=one that continues for a long time and keeps bothering you) shooting pain (=a severe pain that starts in one place then quickly moves to another) ease/relieve/kill pain pain relief/control inflict pain (on somebody) labour pains (=pain felt by a woman who is starting to have a baby) aches and pains (=slight feelings of pain that are not very serious)
pain in
The pain in her jaw had come back.
I had a nasty pain in my leg.
Greg was in a lot of pain.
If you suffer from back pain, consult your doctor before attempting this exercise.
The patient complained of severe chest pains.
She felt a sharp pain in her stomach
Morphine is used to relieve pain.
drugs for pain relief
She hated the thought of anyone inflicting pain on an animal.
a few minor aches and pains
growing pains (2)
2 [uncountable and countable] the feeling of unhappiness you have when you are sad, upset, etc:
the pain and grief of bereavement
cause (somebody) pain/inflict pain on somebody
She hated to say the words, for fear of causing pain.
3

be a pain (in the neck)

spoken also be a pain in the ass/arse/backside/butt not polite to be very annoying:
There were times when Joe could be a real pain in the neck.
It's a pain, having to go upstairs to make the coffee every time.
4

take/go to (great) pains to do something

also take pains with/over something to make a special effort to do something:
He's taken great pains to improve his image.
5

be at pains to do something

to be especially careful to make sure people understand what you are saying or what you plan to do:
Roy was at pains to point out that English was the only exam he'd ever failed.
6

for your pains

as a reward for something you worked to achieve - used especially when this is disappointing:
I fetched the file, and all I got for my pains was a dirty look from Simon.
7

on/under pain of death

at the risk of being killed as punishment, if you do not obey:
Communist activity was prohibited on pain of death.
WORD FOCUS: pain WORD FOCUS: pain
pain in different parts of your body: headache, backache, toothache, earache, stomach ache, my leg/arm/neck etc hurts

to feel a lot of pain: be in agony

what you say when something hurts: ouch
pain painful, sore, twinge

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary