- affected with, causing, or characterized by pain: a painful wound; a painful night; a painful memory.
- laborious; exacting; difficult: a painful life.
- Archaic. painstaking; careful.
- causing pain; distressinga painful duty
- affected with paina painful leg
- tedious or difficult
- informal extremely bada painful performance
adj.mid-14c., from pain (n.) + -ful. Related: Painfully; painfulness.