Word Origin & History
c.1300, "punishment," especially for a crime; also "condition one feels when hurt, opposite of pleasure," from O.Fr. peine, from L. poena "punishment, penalty" (in L.L. also "torment, hardship, suffering"), from Gk. poine "punishment," from PIE *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (see
). The earliest sense in Eng. survives in phrase on pain of death. The verb meaning "to inflict pain" is first recorded c.1300. Phrase to give (someone) a pain "be annoying and irritating" is from 1908; localized as pain in the neck (1924) and pain in the ass (1934), though this last may be the original, unrecorded sense and the others euphemisms. Pains "great care taken (for some purpose)" is first recorded 1520s (in the singular in this sense, it is attested from c.1300). First record of pain-killer is from 1853.