The origin of the noun is uncertain; it is possibly derived from Middle English *pange, perhaps an altered form of prange, prōnge (“affliction, agony, pain; pointed instrument”) as in prongys of deth (“pangs of death, death throes”), from Anglo-Latin pronga, of unknown origin. Perhaps connected with Middle Dutch prange, pranghe (“instrument for pinching”) (modern Dutch prang (“horse restraint; fetter, neck iron”)), Middle Low German prange (“pole, stake; (possibly) kind of pillory or stocks”), Old English pyngan (“to prick”). The word may thus be related to prong.
The verb is derived from the noun.
pang (plural pangs)
- (often in the plural) A paroxysm of extreme physical pain or anguish; a feeling of sudden and transitory agony; a throe.
- (often in the plural) A sudden sharp feeling of an emotional or mental nature, as of joy or sorrow.
pang (third-person singular simple present pangs, present participle panging, simple past and past participle panged)
- (transitive) To cause to have great pain or suffering; to torment, to torture.