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

Pain still ached through his surgically repaired right knee and reality hit. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "The A’s Chris Herrmann catches on quick with new team," 3 July 2019 Propelled by Alexis Taylor’s aching vocals, this is six minutes of pure release, condensing the sensation of a hazy night on the dancefloor. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 32 Best Dance Songs of 2019 (So Far): Staff Picks," 27 June 2019 Sure, Morris begins by kneeling before him, preparing a foot bath for Zachariah’s aching feet and then serving him dinner. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hard questions about race in APT's 'Blood Knot' compounded by casting decision," 18 June 2018 The symptoms typically include fever and muscle ache but can also lead to inflammation of the brain or inflammation of the heart muscles, eventually leading to death. Nupur Anand, Quartz India, "A southern Indian state is in the grip of the deadly Nipah virus again," 5 June 2019 Headaches are unpleasant, too, but are typically less severe than migraines and don't usually present with other symptoms besides the pressure and aching in the head. Rosemary Donahue, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About Getting Botox Injections for Migraines," 8 Aug. 2018 Of course, the dilemma that makes your heart ache the most is how to deal with someone who is ill, and Goldstein, having first-hand experience with her mom, is particularly gentle and inspiring. Caroline Leavitt, BostonGlobe.com, "A memoir from the Love Letters columnist is more than just an origin story," 30 Mar. 2018 Many of the migrants sought treatment for blistered and aching feet, respiratory infections, diarrhea and other maladies. Amy Guthrie, The Seattle Times, "Aid arrives for migrants at Mexico City stadium as US votes," 6 Nov. 2018 Despite the horror that inspired the song, Andrea managed to plunk out a catchy pop tune, but one with undertones of aching melancholy. Erika Pesantes, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Amid darkness of Parkland school massacre, student songwriters 'Shine' their light," 3 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Westbrook can cause his share of head aches, while Walker is a perfect soldier. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Who Could Trade for Russell Westbrook if the Thunder Rebuild?," 6 July 2019 Symptoms include headaches, body aches and joint pain. Ryan Prior, CNN, "New Jersey reports its earliest-ever case of West Nile virus," 3 July 2019 But people with certain medical conditions such as cancer and diabetes are at greater risk to experience symptoms that include body aches, rash or headaches. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "Mosquitoes in Marion County test positive for West Nile virus, health officials say," 2 July 2019 The song models one of Japanese Breakfast’s best tricks: masking the melancholy ache of its lyrics with the decadence of dream pop. New York Times, "The Week in Arts: John Cameron Mitchell Brings Back ‘Hedwig’; L.G.B.T.Q. Films Roll Out for Pride," 22 June 2019 Her older daughter, Antoni, shares her mother’s ache. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 According to the Mayo Clinic, other physical symptoms associated with anxiety include: Fatigue Muscle tension or achesSweating Nausea, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome 3. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "7 Signs You're Dealing With Anxiety," 3 Apr. 2019 The disease can cause basic symptoms such as fever, headache, diarrhea, body aches, skin rash or swollen lymph nodes. Suzanne Baker, Aurora Beacon-News, "Experts: Time for mosquito overload," 10 June 2019 Symptoms of Valley fever include fever, cough, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, night sweats, joint pains or muscle aches, and a rash on the legs or upper body. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "Valley Fever Fungus Caused the Huge Lesion on This Man’s Tongue," 5 June 2019

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

11 Jul 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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