From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishpainfulpain‧ful /ˈpeɪnfəl/ ●●●W2 adjective 🔊 🔊 1HURT/CAUSE PAINif a part of your body is painful, it hurts 🔊 stiff painful joints 🔊 Is your arm very painful? 🔊 The neck becomes swollen and painful to the touch (=hurts when you touch it).2UPSETmaking you feel very upset, or very difficult and unpleasant for you opp painlesspainful memories/experience etc 🔊 He sobbed as he recalled the painful memory. 🔊 Venice was a painful reminder of her marriage. 🔊 He and his wife took the painful decision to switch off their son’s life support machine. 🔊 the long and painful process of growing uppainful to do something 🔊 It can be painful to leave the house in which you were born.painful for/to 🔊 The divorce was painful for both of us. 🔊 Even hearing his name was painful to her.3HURT/CAUSE PAINcausing physicalpain 🔊 a painful blow on the headexcruciatingly/extremely painful 🔊 an excruciatingly painful deathpainful to do something 🔊 He was finding it painful to breathe.4EMBARRASSEDif someone’s behaviour or a performance is painful, it is so bad that it embarrasses peoplepainful to watch/listen to/hear etc 🔊 It’s painful to watch her making the best of a terrible script. ► Do not use painful to mean ‘feeling pain’: He didn’t feel much pain (NOT feel very painful) at first.COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: making you feel very upset, or very difficult and unpleasant for younounsa painful memoryThe photograph brought back painful memories.a painful experienceIt must have been a painful experience for you.a painful processIt was just part of the painful process of growing up.a painful time/periodThe US is in for a painful period of adjustment.a painful decisionI made the painful decision to move far away from my family.a painful reminderThe violence is a painful reminder that many issues have not yet been resolved.the painful truthWe won’t be able to keep the painful truth from the children.painful feelings/emotionsPatients are encouraged to talk about their painful feelings.THESAURUSwhen a part of your body hurts painful used for describing a part of the body that hurtsHer leg is still painful where she broke it.painful jointsShe was suffering from painful stomach cramps.tender painful when touchedThe skin around the wound is very tender.stiff painful and difficult to moveI’ve got a stiff neck.Her body was stiff from sitting in the car for so long.sore painful as a result of a wound, infection, or too much exercisesore musclesa sore throatThe wound was sore and red.