O.E. pinian "torture, torment, afflict, cause to suffer," from *pine "pain, torture, punishment," possibly ult. from L. poena "punishment, penalty," from Gk. poine (see penal
). A Latin word that rode into Germanic (cf. M.Du. pinen, O.H.G. pinon, O.N. pina) with Christianity.
Intransitive sense of "to languish, waste away" is first recorded c.1440.