Definition of painful adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈpeɪnfl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpeɪnfl//
    Embarrassment, Being ill
    jump to other results
  1. 1  causing you pain Is your back still painful? a painful death My ankle is still too painful to walk on. He took a painful blow on the shoulder. Synonymspainfulsore raw inflamed excruciating burning itchyThese words all describe something that causes you physical pain.painful causing you physical pain. Painful can describe a part of the body, illness, injury, treatment or death:Is your knee still painful? a series of painful injections a slow and painful deathsore (of a part of the body) painful and often red, especially because of infection or because a muscle has been used too much:a sore throat Their feet were sore after hours of walking.raw (of a part of the body) red and painful, for example because of an infection or because the skin has been damaged:The skin on her feet had been rubbed raw.inflamed (of a part of the body) painful, red and hot because of an infection or injury:The wound had become inflamed.excruciating extremely painful. Excruciating can describe feelings, treatments or death but not parts of the body:an excruciating throat/​back/​knee.burning painful and giving a feeling of being very hot:She felt a burning sensation in her throat.itchy giving an uncomfortable feeling on your skin that makes you want to scratch; having this feeling:an itchy rash I feel itchy all over.Patterns sore/​inflamed/​itchy eyes raw/​inflamed/​itchy skin a painful/​an excruciating death a painful/​burning sensation excruciating/​burning pain See related entries: Being ill
  2. 2  painful (for somebody) (to do something) | painful (doing something) causing you to feel upset or embarrassed a painful experience/memory Their efforts were painful to watch. See related entries: Embarrassment, Being ill
  3. 3  unpleasant or difficult to do synonym trying Applying for jobs can be a long and painful process. See related entries: Being ill
  4. Extra examples The subject of his failed marriage was quite painful to him. Her ankle was still painful to walk on. I had to undergo a series of painful injections. Is your knee still painful? It was a slow and painful death. It’s very painful for a kid to face up to that kind of thing. Seeing her again brought back painful memories. The infection isn’t dangerous, but it’s very painful. Ulcers can be unbearably painful.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: painful