A meta-analysis of 51 studies was done to estimate normative mean McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) scores and to assess pain quality and pain intensity as measured by the MPQ in 3,624 subjects with seven painful conditions. Across the painful conditions, all of the estimated normative mean scores were no more than 50% of the maximum score, suggesting that scores may be skewed to the left. Although the estimated normative mean scores were similar among the seven painful conditions, higher affective scores appeared to differentiate chronic painful conditions from acute painful conditions. Of the 78 MPQ words that describe pain quality, only 19 were selected by more than 20% of the subjects. Data reported in the majority of these studies were inadequate to test for differences in scores or word selection pattern by the seven painful conditions.