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 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 But still, in the middle of the night her breasts ached for the child. Lisa Taddeo, Harper's Magazine, "Padua, 1966," 30 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Bryant, who already coped with back stiffness three weeks earlier, dealt with left arm soreness while extending on a swing and later coped with a stomach ache. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "What’s the trade landscape for Kris Bryant? 4 questions about the Chicago Cubs third baseman heading into 2021.," 17 Oct. 2020 Among the many feelings my wife, Elenor, has experienced during this pandemic, one of the most raw has been more recent — a deep ache for her own mama, who passed away from cancer when Elenor was just 14. Marina Gomberg, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Marina Gomberg’s wife aches for her feisty mom, and realizes she very much lives within her," 25 Sep. 2020 The finale with the Angels became a 3-hour, 24-minute stomach ache. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Loss of Clevinger would deal Padres ‘big blow’ in playoff push," 23 Sep. 2020 The most common side effects of treatment with immunotherapy used in this analysis include chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache and headache. Amanda Mcelfresh, NOLA.com, "New immunotherapy research shows promise for treatment of advanced prostate cancer, especially in Black men," 22 Sep. 2020 Ease any ache or pain and truly unwind with this aromatherapy pack, which can be heated in the microwave or put in the freezer for a quick chill. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Do I Want for Christmas? Take This Quiz to Find Out What You Should Ask For," 15 Sep. 2020 The reality is that for decades that ache for change was inside many of us. Thatiana Diaz, refinery29.com, "How The “X” In Latinx Set Me Free," 15 Sep. 2020 Another unexpected finding was that more pediatric patients with COVID-19 than with seasonal influenza reported symptoms like fever, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, body ache or chest pain at the time of diagnosis. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Do kids get sicker with the flu or COVID-19? Neither, study finds," 8 Sep. 2020 The ache all these years later is embarrassing, alive and fresh. Robin Antalek, Longreads, "The Bigamist’s Daughter," 22 Apr. 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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Statistics for ache

Last Updated

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ache.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ache. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for ache

ache

verb
How to pronounce ache (audio)

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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