Definition of "painful" []

  • Causing pain. (adjective)
  • Full of pain. (adjective)
  • Requiring care and labor; irksome: a painful task. (adjective)
  • Archaic Diligent; careful. (adjective)
  • Causing pain; distressing (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • Affected with pain (adjective)
  • Tedious or difficult (adjective)
  • Extremely bad (adjective) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "painful" in a sentence
  • "Just five weeks ago, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed a $4.3 billion budget packed with what he called painful choices, including raising taxes and cutting popular programs."
  • "But the bottom line, the reason why this is major news is you now have a U.S. president really trying to prod both sides to make what he called painful political concessions, to make difficult choices, and putting, basically, a deadline on it."
  • "Plus, Michelle Obama speaking very candidly about what she calls the painful, difficult controversy dogging her husband's campaign."