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Idioms with the word “pain”

Over the past few weeks I have been suffering from some pain related to a tendinitis, you know the typical “tennis elbow” injury that many people have suffered at one point or another in their life. Well, this week on the Art of Business English I thought I would share some idioms with you that you can use to describe different situations using the word “pain”.

As you will see, many of these expressions are not necessarily related directly to the sensation of feeling pain, however, they are commonly used to describe difficult situations or situations where you have gone to great effort.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and check out today’s episode. 

Watch the episode here

A pain in the neck/ass

Meaning: An especially irritating, aggravating, or obnoxious person, thing, or situation.

Example: Having to make hundreds of minor changes to this document is really becoming a pain in the neck!

At pains to

Meaning: Striving. Used to describe someone who is putting forth effort towards some goal or end.

Example: Anna is at pains to make sure her boss is happy with her work. She is hoping to get a promotion this year.

To feel someone’s pain

Meaning: To empathize completely with someone.

Example: John: I am so tired of always being the one who has to fix everyone’s mistakes!

Mary: Oh, I feel your pain, there is nothing more annoying than constantly picking up after people. 

Growing pains

Meaning: If an organization or activity has growing pains, it experiences problems as it develops. Usually due to rapid growth.

Example: The company has been suffering growing pains, as they have rapidly transitioned from a local supplier to a national distributor.

Take great pains to do something

Meaning: To expend a lot of time and energy doing something.

Example: The team has taken great pains to ensure that the project be completed on time.

A royal pain

Meaning: Someone or something that is very irritating. "Royal" is used as an intensifier.

Example: This project has turned into a royal pain. I doubt well get it done by the deadline.

Feel no pain

Meaning: Euphemism. To be or feel drunk.

Example: There was free food and free booze all evening at the staff Christmas part, and pretty soon I was feeling no pain.

There is no pleasure without pain

Meaning: Every enjoyable thing in life requires some amount of sacrifice or suffering to obtain it.

Example: A three-day mountain biking tour with my best mates! The things I had to do to convince my wife. Oh well, there is no pleasure without pain.

No pain, no gain

Meaning: Suffering and hard work are needed to make progress.

Example: Come on! 20 more push-ups, no pain, no gain!

Racked with pain

Meaning: Suffering from an overwhelming amount of pain, especially to the degree that one's body is contorted or seized up.

Example: Sam’s body was racked with pain after the skiing accident. It almost killed him!

Final thoughts

Well, that brings us to the end of this episode. I hope you found these expressions useful, and maybe you have hear them before, but now you have a better understanding of what they mean.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below and add any idioms that you know with the word “pain”.

If you would like to improve your knowledge of idioms, why not take our course on “Business idioms”. This short course is packed with useful idioms that you can use in many areas of business, from marketing to management. You can check out all the details below.

That concludes today’s episode, make sure you return next week for another episode of the Art of Business English, bye for now. 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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