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Denotation vs. Connotation

painful

[peyn-fuh l] /ˈpeɪn fəl/
adjective
1.
affected with, causing, or characterized by pain:
a painful wound; a painful night; a painful memory.
2.
laborious; exacting; difficult:
a painful life.
3.
Archaic. painstaking; careful.
Origin of painful
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English; see pain, -ful
Related forms
painfully, adverb
painfulness, noun
overpainful, adjective
overpainfully, adverb
overpainfulness, noun
unpainful, adjective
unpainfully, adverb
Synonyms
1. distressing, torturing, agonizing, tormenting, excruciating. 2. arduous.
Antonyms
2. easy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for painful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Please excuse me, but I'm really so tired that it is painful to me to talk.

  • And in the painful cleaning of the wound he did not murmur once.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • It is painful to me to tell, but it would be far worse that you should hear it from any one else.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
  • The circumstances were painful, but added a dramatic touch to the scene.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • He struck off with something of a painful gait, which he explained was from the gout.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for painful

painful

/ˈpeɪnfʊl/
adjective
1.
causing pain; distressing: a painful duty
2.
affected with pain: a painful leg
3.
tedious or difficult
4.
(informal) extremely bad: a painful performance
Derived Forms
painfully, adverb
painfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for painful
adj.

mid-14c., from pain (n.) + -ful. Related: Painfully; painfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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12
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