ache

verb
\ ˈāk How to pronounce ache (audio) \
ached; aching

Definition of ache

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to suffer a usually dull persistent pain an aching back
b : to become distressed or disturbed (as with anxiety or regret) aching with sadness
c : to feel compassion My heart aches for those poor people.
2 : to experience a painful eagerness or yearning He is aching to go.

ache

noun

Definition of ache (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a usually dull persistent pain had an ache in his back
2 : a condition marked by aching looked through the old pictures with a dull ache in her heart

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Synonyms for ache

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of ache in a Sentence

Verb Her muscles were aching from shoveling snow. After running the marathon, his body ached for a week. The candy's so sweet that it makes my teeth ache. Noun He had a dull ache in his back from lifting boxes all day. a dull pounding ache in his head
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But then, last Monday, Nihart’s body began to ache. Washington Post, "Pandemic Thanksgiving plans pivot after a surge in coronavirus cases," 24 Nov. 2020 On April 17, his head began to ache and his chest felt impossibly tight. Michael M. Phillips And Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "In a Year of Bad Days, This Was One of the Worst," 25 Sep. 2020 Thumbs will ache, controllers will be thrown, tears will be shed and curses will reverberate through the house. Gieson Cacho, Star Tribune, "'Battletoads' is back, and it's still a challenge," 26 Aug. 2020 My body began to ache from inactivity; my brain ached for stimulation. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "WFH is not working: I traded a car payment for an office lease — and I have no regrets," 4 Aug. 2020 After about three hours, my ears and head started to ache a bit from the pressure of the elastic. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Vacation ready? Here’s what to bring – and do – to stay safe," 11 July 2020 The disease is characterized by excessive sneezing, reddening and running of the eyes, running of the nose, chills followed by fever of 101 to 103 degrees, aching back and joints, loss of appetite and a general feeling of disability. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "In 1918, a deadly outbreak of influenza reached Anchorage. Here’s how Alaskans responded," 19 Apr. 2020 This felt deeply helpful; my fingers ached from taking notes. Lauren Groff, Harper's magazine, "Waiting for the End of the World," 1 Mar. 2020 At first, her malaise was nonspecific: intense fatigue, an aching back and a headache that wouldn’t respond to ibuprofen. Katherine Zoepf, New York Times, "‘I Could Have Died’: The Dangers of Postpartum Pre-eclampsia," 15 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Very worthwhile and allowed my life partner to carry on his pruning and clipping more freely and with less ache. Stephanie Perry, Better Homes & Gardens, "These Top-Rated Pruning Shears Are So Easy to Use, People with Arthritis Can Garden with Them for Hours," 10 Mar. 2021 The ache and agony of Bracketville comes with intoxicating promise. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Aztecs sputter, Syracuse soars as NCAA Tournament reminds that March matters," 20 Mar. 2021 Wong's films, believe it or not, perfectly suit the #QuarantineMood: dripping with the ache and longing of loneliness, yearning for human connection, perfect for late nights or melancholic days. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "Why you should dive into the work of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai," 20 Mar. 2021 Those who live far away from their mothers, or can’t be with them during the holiday, will be soothed by this Kacey Musgraves's song about the ache of missing a parent. Samantha Lawyer, Country Living, "25 Best Mother’s Day Songs for a Musical Celebration," 8 Mar. 2021 Even in fiction, Swift’s ability to capture the wistful ache of nostalgia remains unmatched. Nate Jones, Vulture, "All 179 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked," 11 Jan. 2021 And her greatest ache came from watching her talented, conscientious husband partially succumb to his illnesses. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Meet a man and his family who were rescued by the kindness of Utah Jazz fans," 5 Mar. 2021 There’s a sense of long winter, of the brown snow that just won’t melt and cold that’s made its way to the bones; even the summer warm days give a sense of ache and hard luck burden. BostonGlobe.com, "A book of photographs that captures Greenfield, a list of the region’s National Endowment for the Arts grant recipients, and a book about the healing power of plants.," 11 Feb. 2021 There is much anxiety and ache to be found here—but also, when it is most needed, radiance, humor, love, and joy. The New Yorker, "The Best Books We Read in 2020," 1 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ache

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ache

Verb

Middle English aken, going back to Old English acan, of uncertain origin

Note: Originally a Class VI strong verb, to judge by Middle English past tense forms such as eoc, ok, etc. (no preterit forms are attested in Old English). There is no counterpart to the verb in other Germanic languages, and words adduced as possible relatives (e.g., Middle Dutch akel "harm, injury, grief," Middle Low German ēken "to fester") are formally and semantically only vaguely comparable. Regarding the spelling see note at ache entry 2.

Noun

Middle English, going back to Old English æce, ece, noun derivative from the base of acan "to ache entry 1"

Note: The spelling with -ch-, reflecting the historical pronunciation of the noun, has spread to the verb, while the pronunciation of the verb with [k], continued from Old English, has spread to the noun since late Middle English. The persistence of the spelling with -ch- may have been influenced by Samuel Johnson's mistaken notion that the word derived from Greek áchos "pain, distress."

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Time Traveler for ache

Time Traveler

The first known use of ache was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ache.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ache. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for ache

ache

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ache

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to produce a dull continuous pain : to hurt in a way that is constant but not severe
: to want or desire something or someone very much

ache

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ache (Entry 2 of 2)

: a pain that is not sharp but continues for a long time

ache

verb
\ ˈāk How to pronounce ache (audio) \
ached; aching

Kids Definition of ache

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to suffer a dull continuous pain My muscles ached from shoveling snow.
2 : to desire very much : yearn She aches for someone to talk to.

ache

noun

Kids Definition of ache (Entry 2 of 2)

: a dull continuous pain
\ ˈāk How to pronounce ache (audio) \
ached; aching

Medical Definition of ache

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to suffer a usually dull persistent pain

ache

noun

Medical Definition of ache (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a usually dull persistent pain
2 : a condition marked by aching

Medical Definition of AChE (Entry 3 of 3)

acetylcholinesterase

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Comments on ache

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