pain


pain
pain n
1 Pain, ache, pang, throe, twinge, stitch are comparable when they mean a bodily sensation that causes acute discomfort or suffering.
Pain may range in its application from a sensation that makes one uneasily aware of some bodily disturbance or injury to a sensation resulting from severe injuries or disease and of agonizing intensity; from a sensation that is purely local to one that affects the entire body
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a pain in the finger

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chest pains

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his body was wracked with pain

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More technically, pain denotes a usually unpleasant sensation that results from a noxious stimulus to skin or tissues and leads to avoiding reactions.
An ache is a steady, dull, and often generalized pain that is frequently associated with some underlying disorder
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the ache of an abscessed tooth

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backache that accompanies kidney disease

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A pang is a sharp, sudden, and usually transitory pain of great intensity, especially one that recurs in spasms
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pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth— Isa 21:3

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attacking them [fleas] was a waste of time, and unless a particularly savage pang forced you into action, you just sat and let yourself be devoured— Stewart

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A throe is a pang characteristic of a process (as of labor in childbirth). Because of its association with labor the term usually designates a violent and convulsive, as well as a recurrent pain
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in the throes of violent retching

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the throes of a mortal and painful disorder— Scott

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A twinge is a momentary shooting or darting pain, especially one causing muscular contraction or twitching; it is sometimes regarded as a premonitory symptom
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shrugged off twinges and creakings like mine as something quite to be expected in their early fifties— E. M. Stem

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feel a twinge in the region of the heart

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Stitch differs from twinge in suggesting something that runs through a part of a body (usually a muscle) like a piercing needle
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ran until he got a stitch in the side

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All of these words except the last designate also mental suffering.
Pain commonly suggests sorrow (as for something lost or unattainable)
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my craving to hear from her was at times a gnawing painKenneth Roberts

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Ache usually implies suffering that must be endured or longing not likely to be appeased
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there was an ache in his heart like the farewell to a dear woman— Steinbeck

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know the ache of loneliness

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Pang suggests a sudden sharp access of a painful emotion
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sharp pangs of envy

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pangs of remorse

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the next time I ran away just the same, and suffered the most ghastly pangs of itavJohn Reed

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statements . . . made unhesitatingly, with no visible pangs of conscience— Sanders

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Throe presupposes the existence of mental agony and designates one of the recurrent spasms that characterize the state of mind
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fierce maternal passion . . . was now bowing her still lower, in the throes of a bitter renunciation— Wharton

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Twinge suggests less poignancy than pang but often connotes compunction
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twinges of conscience

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too painfully preoccupied to feel a twinge of self-reproach at this undeserved praise— George Eliot

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shot down his victims without shadow of provocation and who probably never felt a twinge of remorse— Ghent

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Analogous words: agony, *distress, suffering, passion: anguish, *sorrow, grief, heartbreak
2 in plural form

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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