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

hurt, pain, smart

Synonyms: Noun

pain, pang, prick, shoot, smart, sting, stitch, throe, tingle, twinge

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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

With every big, waxy Monstera leaf or pint-size succulent that flickered across my feed, my inner green thumb ached. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "I Can't Stop Buying Plants Even Though They Always Die," 9 Jan. 2019 Symptoms often start two to 10 days after exposure and include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, aching muscles, fever and chills. Angie Leventis Lourgos, chicagotribune.com, "9 sickened by Legionnaires' disease across McHenry County; public health officials investigating," 11 July 2018 These arms that ache to hold them, to stroke their hair, to make their favorite foods. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Radio Host Delilah Opens Up About Losing Her Teenage Son to Suicide In New Memoir," 22 Oct. 2018 Violinist Gil Shaham brought aching lyricism to the solo line, and Tilson Thomas, not hesitating to drown him out when Berg allowed no other choice, once more sought every ounce of expression from every line in the complex symphonic accompaniment. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "MTT takes Mahler to a new level in San Francisco Symphony tour," 28 Mar. 2018 In the vein of her '90s grunge idols — Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love came to mind — Bognanno sang with soft, aching angst that swelled to vein-popping screams. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bully's furious, cathartic Milwaukee concert a perfect complement to the Women's March," 21 Jan. 2018 Plus, it can be used in the traditional ways as well: on sore muscles, aching backs, and cramps. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "People Are Obsessed With This $46 Heating Pad That’s Like a Sleeping Bag for Your Feet," 15 Oct. 2018 Low points on the trails (cactus run-ins, aching blisters, and lightning storms) combined with high points (accomplishment, intimate moments, and deep conversations) mirrored the ups and downs of their lives together. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "Connecticut couple hikes into Grand Canyon to say 'I do'," 6 June 2018 Below are a few shots from other intrepid photographers on the PM.com staff across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina, as well as other great shots from around the internet that've been easing my aching FOMO. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Solar Eclipse Photos From Around the Internet," 21 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This is a man who has accomplished much, overcome much, but the ache is a key to his humanity. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘First Man’: Ryan Gosling is stellar as astronaut Neil Armstrong," 8 Oct. 2018 Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, fatigue, body or muscle aches, and fever (although not everyone who has the flu gets a fever). Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "The 2019 Flu Season May Be as Deadly as 2018's — Here's How to Prepare Yourself," 3 Oct. 2018 Some people may get body aches or a low grade fever. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "How Cat Poop Can Affect Your Health," 9 Aug. 2018 There’s nothing overwrought about these five minutes of music, just the raw ache of what might have been. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Deafheaven review: A duel between catharsis and melodrama on 'Ordinary Corrupt Human Love'," 13 July 2018 Is Leonard developing into a bad guy, or at least one who won’t play through the normal aches and pains of the NBA? Bob Ford, Philly.com, "Sixers can trade for Kawhi Leonard? Apparently, LeBron James doesn't think so | Bob Ford," 2 July 2018 If the ache in your body starts to feel infinite, extending out on all sides, through all time, then take a moment to locate yourself. Jenny Sharaf, The Cut, "Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of June 25," 25 June 2018 The sedentary ache of my body on cold mornings with the company of an alert chocolate Lab at my side for hours in the duck blind is the ultimate sustained focus and harmony. Author: Christine Cunningham, Anchorage Daily News, "How the Cow Face Pose can make you a better duck hunter," 19 June 2018 For a few days after the incident, as his unit prepared to come home, Kadleck soothed his aching back with aspirin and tried to ignore the steadily growing ache that throbbed near his neck. Marialuisa Rincon, Houston Chronicle, "Army veteran, family receive new house from Operation Finally Home," 9 June 2018

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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Statistics for ache

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ache

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on ache

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ache

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ache

Spanish Central: Translation of ache

Nglish: Translation of ache for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ache for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ache

Comments on ache

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