What's considered more painful of the following three words? I saw on the dictionary that all of the following three words: ache, painful and sore have the same meaning and it's not clear to me if they're just synonyms or they have some subtle differences. (I know that "ache", unlike sore and painful, is a noun rather than an adjective, but still the difference between I'd like to know if there is a difference in the meaning.)


👉* She's got a sore back. Vs. She's got a backache Vs. She's got a painful back.

👉* All the dust has made my eyes sore. Vs. All the dust has made my eyes painful. Vs. All the dust cause to my eyes to (be) ache.


You can't compare the three in terms of which is worse pain. If you want to do that you have to describe the pain with an adjective. A 'searing' pain is worse than a 'minor' pain. A 'throbbing' headache is worse than a 'little' headache.

All three mean 'pain', which makes them synonyms in a sense. But they can't be used interchangeably. Each one might be used more often than another in a given situation, but which one is used can depend on the person speaking or the local custom where they live.

What makes it even harder is that pain is a subjective feeling. One person's ache might be another person's soreness. The word 'pain' doesn't even mean the same thing all the time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.