Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to pains: Chest pains


a. An unpleasant feeling occurring as a result of injury or disease, usually localized in some part of the body: felt pains in his chest.
b. Bodily suffering characterized by such feelings: drugs to treat pain.
a. Mental or emotional suffering; distress.
b. An instance of this: the pains of humiliation.
3. pains The pangs of childbirth.
4. pains Great care or effort: taking pains with one's work.
5. Informal A source of annoyance; a nuisance: Stuffing all these envelopes is a real pain.
tr.v. pained, pain·ing, pains
1. To cause physical pain to; hurt: My feet really pained me after the hike.
2. To cause mental or emotional distress to: "It pained him to remember every little thing about her" (John Irving).
on/under pain of
Subject to the penalty of (a specified punishment, such as death).

[Middle English, from Old French peine, from Latin poena, penalty, pain, from Greek poinē, penalty; see kwei- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: pain, ache, pang, stitch, throe, twinge
These nouns denote a sensation of severe physical discomfort: abdominal pain; aches in my leg; the pangs of a cramped muscle; a stitch in my side; the throes of dying; a twinge of arthritis.


pl n
1. care, trouble, or effort (esp in the phrases take pains, be at pains to)
2. painful sensations experienced during contractions in childbirth; labour pains
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pains - an effortful attempt to attain a goalpains - an effortful attempt to attain a goal
attempt, effort, try, endeavor, endeavour - earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something; "made an effort to cover all the reading material"; "wished him luck in his endeavor"; "she gave it a good try"
jehad, jihad - a holy struggle or striving by a Muslim for a moral or spiritual or political goal
References in classic literature ?
So long as visible or audible pain turns you sick; so long as your own pains drive you; so long as pain underlies your propositions about sin,--so long, I tell you, you are an animal, thinking a little less obscurely what an animal feels.
But Just then the boy began to suffer such fearful pains that he became alarmed.
You shall read, in some of the friars' books of mortification, that a man should think with himself, what the pain is, if he have but his finger's end pressed, or tortured, and thereby imagine, what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted, and dissolved; when many times death passeth, with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the most vital parts, are not the quickest of sense.
The very devil would be in it in that case," said Sancho; and letting off thirty "ohs," and sixty sighs, and a hundred and twenty maledictions and execrations on whomsoever it was that had brought him there, he raised himself, stopping half-way bent like a Turkish bow without power to bring himself upright, but with all his pains he saddled his ass, who too had gone astray somewhat, yielding to the excessive licence of the day; he next raised up Rocinante, and as for him, had he possessed a tongue to complain with, most assuredly neither Sancho nor his master would have been behind him.
And agreeably to this mode of thinking and speaking, were we not saying that they will have their pleasures and pains in common?
The thought of Stephen was like a horrible throbbing pain, which yet, as such pains do, seemed to urge all other thoughts into activity.
Rose lay in a shivering bunch near the register, with her things half off, wringing her hands, and trying not to cry with the pain returning warmth brought to her half-frozen fingers.
where there is then no good For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From Faction; for none sure will claim in hell Precedence, none, whose portion is so small Of present pain, that with ambitious mind Will covet more.
In his efforts against the numbing pain he was like a man wrestling with a creature of the air.
What happened to me next on the sealing-schooner Ghost, as I strove to fit into my new environment, are matters of humiliation and pain.
Every pain hath torn thy heart, father-pain, fathers'-pain, forefathers'-pain; thy speech hath become ripe,--
Michael received nothing but the excellent food and the cleanliness; but, a solitary and brooding prisoner in his cage, he could not help but sense the atmosphere of pain and terror about him of the animals being broken for the delight of men.