What exactly does the phrase "he/she was hurting" mean? Is the person in question experiencing pain?

Update: I am specifically looking for the phrase "to be hurting", not the individual words "hurt" or "hurting". I searched Google and Merriam Webster and did not find that specific phrase explained.

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  • 2
    Hello Helge. Have you looked this up in a reasonable dictionary? Google Dictionary gives one of the literal intransitive meanings (My back is hurting) as well as the metaphorical one (I am hurting, John just having died). AHDEL has the other shade of the physical sense (1. To have or produce a feeling of physical pain or discomfort ...) (I am hurting. Those wasps!) – Edwin Ashworth Oct 16 '14 at 14:48
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    Yes. Physically or mentally. – mplungjan Oct 16 '14 at 14:49

To be hurting can mean, of course, the literal definition, which is experiencing physical or mental pain or suffering (TheFreeDictionary).

Informally, it can mean some kind of distress, especially financial, but not necessarily literal pain or suffering. For example:

My pocket book is hurting after my last shopping spree.

Also informally, it can mean some kind of desire or wanting. For example:

I'm hurting for some of my wife's good cooking.

(See the slang definition for "jones")

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