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Alternative forms[edit]


From pain +‎ -ful.



painful ‎(comparative painfuller or more painful, superlative painfullest or most painful)

  1. Causing pain or distress, either physical or mental. [from 14th c.]
  2. Afflicted or suffering with pain (of a body part or, formerly, of a person). [from 15th c.]
  3. Requiring effort or labor; difficult, laborious. [from 15th c.]
  4. (now rare) Painstaking; careful; industrious. [from 16th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 142:
      The men bestow their times in fishing, hunting, warres, and such manlike exercises, scorning to be seene in any woman-like exercise, which is the cause that the women be very painefull, and the men often idle.
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, Book 2, Ch. 2
      For twenty generations, here was the earthly arena where painful living men worked out their life-wrestle



Derived terms[edit]


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