American English

Definition of painfully adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1extremely, and in a way that makes you feel annoyed, upset, etc. Their son was painfully shy. The dog was painfully thin. He was painfully aware of his lack of experience. Progress has been painfully slow.
  2. 2in a way that causes you physical or emotional pain He banged his knee painfully against the desk.
  3. 3with a lot of effort and difficulty painfully acquired experience
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: painfully