Word Confusion: Pain versus Pane

Posted March 7, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 23 September 2017

You can get a pain if you break a pane, but a pane alone will not cause you pain. Well, maybe if the pane is so dirty that you can’t see through it…

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Pain Pane
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: pain and pane

Cartoon image of a man with back pain

“Aches and Pains” is Planningviz’s own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Skylight made up of many panes of glass

“The Museum of Art: Kochi” by 663highland is under the GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, or CC BY 2.5 licenses, via Wikimedia Commons

Panes are found in windows, skylights, and doors.

Part of Grammar:
Noun; Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: pains
Past tense or past participle: pained
Gerund or present participle: paining

Plural for the noun: panes
Physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury

  • Mental suffering or distress
  • [Used in the singular; informal] An annoying or tedious person or thing

[Pains] Careful effort

  • Great care or trouble

[Medical] An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder

[Medical] One of the uterine contractions occurring in childbirth

Verb, intransitive:
Cause mental or physical pain to

  • [Chiefly North American; of a part of the body] Hurt

Verb, transitive:
Cause mental or physical pain to

A single sheet of glass in a window or door

  • [Computing] A separate defined area within a window for the display of, or interaction with, a part of that window’s application or output
  • [Philately] A sheet or page of postage stamps

A panel, as of a wainscot, ceiling, door, etc.

A flat section, side, or surface, as one of the sides of a bolthead

A flat section or face, as of a cut diamond

That boy ain’t feelin’ no pain a’tall.

She’s in great pain.

I sympathize with those who suffer from back pain.

George is having chest pains.

For those who have suffered the pain of loss, we have this pill.

Oh man, this job is a pain in the neck.

Marty’s a pain.

Great pains have been taken to repair the engine perfectly.

She took pains to see that everyone ate well.

He is at pains to point out that he isn’t like that.

Joey is suffering from growing pains.

All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment.

You know what they say: No pain, no gain.

Labor pains are different for every woman.

Verb, intransitive:
Sometimes my right hand would pain.

Verb, transitive:
It pains me to say this, but that is the ugliest dress.

Her legs had been paining her something fierce.

We’ll have to replace that pane in the front door.

Look, Maggie, we can use this to make it look like the window panes have been etched!

A computer screen will display other smaller window areas, sometimes called panes or panels, showing relevant information, options, or open programs.

Nah, I prefer the pane of stamps; I hate those rolls.

Adjective: overpained, pained, painstaking, unpained, unpaining

Noun: underpain

Adjective: paneless
History of the Word:
Middle English in the sense of suffering inflicted as punishment for an offense is from the Old French peine, which is from the Latin poena meaning penalty, and later pain. Late Middle English originally denoting a section or piece of something, such as a fence or strip of cloth, from the Old French pan, which is from Latin pannus meaning piece of cloth.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

Hut in the Winter Mountains by Steinchen is under the CC-BY-0, via Pixabay and Dentist, 1880s by Charles Alt is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.