What is a good verb that describes that pain is happening suddenly and is sharp? I am not sure if there's a verb that checks these two condition, so if you can't I would like a verb that checks one or the other as a condition.

  • [to describe pain that happens suddenly and is sharp] – Lambie May 12 '19 at 15:54
  • There isn't one. That's what adjectives are for: a sudden, sharp pain. (And note that pain is a noun, not a verb.) – Jason Bassford May 12 '19 at 15:58

a sudden, sharp pain

  • a stabbing pain [adjective]

  • The pain struck or stabbed him like a knife or felt like a knife [verb]

  • a crippling pain [adjective]

  • The pain was crippling. The pain crippled him momentarily.

  • a piercing pain [adjective]

  • The pain pierced him like a knife

  • The pain coursed through him.

Pain like this is often associated with knives or other pointed instruments.

stabbing and piercing are common ways to describe it.

There are, undoubtedly, other ways to say it as well.


Not a verb, descriptions in English use adjectives. The usual word used to describe pain that comes on quickly and is in one place is "stabbing".

Would you describe the pain as a stabbing pain, or an aching pain?

It is also natural to use "sudden, sharp pain"

  • what about shot? – blackbird May 12 '19 at 16:01
  • what about it ? – James K May 12 '19 at 16:06
  • Try writing a poem with more adjectives than verbs. English is a "verbalizing" language (I pass on the word verb as in verbing). :) – Lambie May 12 '19 at 16:07
  • wouldn't that verb fit one of the criteria? – blackbird May 12 '19 at 16:09
  • 1
    @blackbird I guess you mean a shooting pain, right? But the verb then has to do this: The pain shot through him [etc. or not etc.] – Lambie May 12 '19 at 16:12

To add on to the other good answers ("a sharp, stabbing pain, etc.):

Pain that is sudden and of relatively short duration, or caused by a temporary injury, is called acute pain. For example, stubbing your toe, or a muscle cramp, or even something more serious like a gunshot wound, all produce acute pain (of varying degrees of severity, of course).

Pain that lasts a relatively long time, or recurs on a regular basis, is called chronic pain. For example, someone might suffer from chronic migraine headaches, or joint pain due to an old injury, or joint pain from arthritis, or many other causes of varying severity.

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