Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "painful" []

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

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."