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1. Literally, pains in the limbs and joints of children during growth spurts. A: "He's just been so irritable lately. It's really unlike him." B: "I'd say it's just growing pains; I wouldn't worry about it."
2. By extension, the troubles or difficulties experienced by new companies or organizations as they enter into business or become established. We certainly had our share of growing pains when we opened up our restaurant, from trying to get a liquor license, to health inspectors, to ridiculous noise complaints from the neighbors.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Problems that arise in beginning or enlarging an enterprise, as in The company is undergoing growing pains but should be viable by next year. This expression, which dates from the late 1800s, originally referred to the joint and limb aches experienced by youngsters who are growing rapidly. By about 1900 it was being used figuratively.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
If an organization or activity has growing pains, it experiences problems as it develops. He knew it was just a case of growing pains, the natural process of going from small local supplier to major distributor. Their three year-old marriage has been going through some growing pains. Note: Growing pains are pains that children sometimes get in their muscles and joints. Many people wrongly think that they are caused by the children growing too fast.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
ˈgrowing painsthe problems, difficulties, etc. which happen in the early stages of something: The troubles that are affecting the company are more than just growing pains. Growing pains are pains that some children feel in their arms and legs when they are growing.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017