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Idioms using pain

Here is a list of idiomatic expressions using the word pain. Each idiom is followed by its meaning or definition. Example sentences are also given.

A pain in the neck

If somebody is a pain in the neck they are very annoying.

  • Janet is the most annoying woman I have seen. She is a real pain the neck.
  • What is the matter with you? Why are you being a real pain? (= Why are you being so annoying?)

The expression pain in the bum also means the same, but it is not considered polite.

Be at pains to do something

When you are at pains to do something, you try very hard to do it.

  • The solicitor was at pains to explain why his client should be acquitted. (= The solicitor tried hard to explain why his client should be acquitted.)
  • She was at pains to prove that she was not guilty.
For your pains

This expression is used to emphasize the efforts of a person.

  • She got nothing for her pains. He didnít even say thank-you. (= She was not properly rewarded for her efforts.)
Take great pains

To take great pains is to do something with a lot of care and effort.

  • She took great pains to make the party a success.
  • He took great pains to finish the assignment before the deadline.
No pain, no gain

This is an idiom used to mean that you have to work hard to achieve something.

  • John failed his test and that was hardly surprising. He didnít study at all. No pain, no gain.
Aches and pains

Minor pains that continue over a period of time

  • Donít get her talking about her aches and pains. She wonít stop.

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