1

ache

verb \ ˈāk \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of ache

ached; aching
intransitive verb
1 a : 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.

Examples of ache in a Sentence

  1. Her muscles were aching from shoveling snow.

  2. After running the marathon, his body ached for a week.

  3. The candy's so sweet that it makes my teeth ache.

Recent Examples of ache from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of ache

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 2ache.


2

ache

noun

Definition of ache

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

Examples of ache in a Sentence

  1. He had a dull ache in his back from lifting boxes all day.

  2. a dull pounding ache in his head

Recent Examples of ache from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of ache

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


ACHE Defined for English Language Learners

ache

verb

Definition of ache for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of ache for English Language Learners

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


ACHE Defined for Kids

1

ache

verb \ ˈāk \

Definition of ache for Students

ached; aching
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.

2

ache

noun

Definition of ache for Students

: a dull continuous pain

Medical Dictionary

1

ache

intransitive verb \ ˈāk \

medical Definition of ache

ached; aching
: to suffer a usually dull persistent pain

2

ache

noun

medical Definition of ache

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

AChE

abbreviation

medical Definition of AChE

acetylcholinesterase


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