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

That’s largely because the younger labor force is shrinking, and few want to do such low-paying, back-aching work. Los Angeles Times, "Desperate for workers, aging Japan turns to robots for healthcare," 25 July 2019 My heart is aching from the human suffering being caused. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "ICE detainees are no longer getting condiments on their sandwiches," 20 June 2019 After a busy day of hiking, touring museums, or schlepping bags through the airport, a soothing bath can relieve aching muscles and reduce anxiety and stress. Necee Regis, BostonGlobe.com, "Here, there, and everywhere," 25 June 2019 His hips ached with every step, limiting his walk to a shuffle. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "What Was the Cause of the Excruciating Pain in His Shoulders and Hips?," 5 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The most common disease spread by ticks is Lyme disease, which can cause multiple symptoms including fever, muscle aches, joint pain, rash and facial paralysis. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "U.S. House orders Pentagon to investigate whether ticks were once used as biological weapons," 17 July 2019 Approximately one in five people who are infected with the virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al.com, "Case of West Nile virus reported in Boaz," 12 July 2019 Symptoms can appear 12 to 25 days after a person is infected and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, being tired and loss of appetite. Jason Hanna And Doug Criss, CNN, "300 inmates in Texas' Harris County jail are quarantined over a mumps outbreak," 13 June 2019 Typical symptoms are a fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue and swelling of the salivary glands. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "7 cases of mumps confirmed at Harris County Jail, and there could be more," 13 June 2019 That first herpes outbreak may also cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and headaches, the CDC says, all of which are a sign that your immune system is putting up a valiant fight against the virus. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Here’s Why Doctors Don’t Usually Test for Herpes," 10 May 2019 Even her longtime stuntwomen are acknowledging some aches and pains. Scott Huver, CNN, "'Black Widow' cast drops hints about the superhero's ledger," 21 July 2019 Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, rashes, and aches and pains. Fox News, "Philippines declares national emergency after more than 100,000 people contract Dengue fever," 18 July 2019 Topical creams used to treat rashes or aches and pains can contain chemicals that may make your cat ill. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "What’s in my hand lotion that appeals to this Oakland cat?," 21 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

8 Aug 2019

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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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