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

Sandoval has ached a lot in his career but rarely complained. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Emotional Giant Pablo Sandoval admits to excruciating pain, anxiety over final at-bat," 1 Sep. 2019 What most people are aching for is a return to nature, nurture, and simplicity. Daisy Finer, Condé Nast Traveler, "Biomarkers, Sweat Lodges, and Shamans: Today's Wellness Retreats Go Far Beyond a Detox," 26 Aug. 2019 One deputy received medical treatment for cuts and bruises to his face, cuts on his hand, and aching pain in the side of his head where Davis hit him with his knee, according to the statement. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Westminster man charged with assault after allegedly fighting two sheriff’s deputies," 12 Sep. 2019 The evening’s final susurrating vocalist was Zola Jesus, her words strung out as extended, aching vowels, spiked by the euphoric minimalist backing of a string quartet. Los Angeles Times, "Review: At Descanso Gardens, music meets nature and ‘Silence’ means many things," 8 Sep. 2019 In recent years, products containing CBD, such as oils, have become a popular remedy for common ailments such as aching muscles and anxiety. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "Kroger now selling CBD lotions, oils and creams in Houston," 22 Aug. 2019 The Angels’ raw, aching wounds were torn open Friday, their first home game since his death, but what could have been a sorrowful night had a wondrous ending almost too surreal to be believed. Helene Elliott, latimes.com, "Angels’ no-hitter tribute to Tyler Skaggs is an absolute gem," 12 July 2019 The condition, though not fatal, can leave thoroughbreds out of sorts for weeks with running noses and aching muscles. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "A $300 Million Dose of Horse Flu," 7 Feb. 2019 Mr Trump lambasted the war for years, seemed momentarily energised by the prospect of succeeding where his predecessor failed, and now—aching for a foreign-policy win—may simply want the troops out before next year’s election. The Economist, "Trumped by the Taliban," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Though recipe tutorial videos are often the salivation-inducing stuff of culinary inspiration, the latest new viral cooking video is giving the Internet a stomach ache. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "A Controversial Quesadilla-Pizza Recipe Video Is Giving the Internet Indigestion," 25 Aug. 2019 There’s some ache to the memory, though, because unlike a flight that ends on solid ground, there’s no way to permanently mark the spot where Apollo 11 landed with a plaque. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "A front row seat to historic splashdown," 21 July 2019 Gua sha supposedly stimulates new blood flow and draws out stagnation to relieve aches or stiffness. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "Kaley Cuoco Uses Painful Cupping and Scraping Therapies for Workout Recovery—Here’s What That Means," 27 June 2019 It is buried inside of you and becomes this big, deep hole of ache. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "25 Loss of Mother Quotes to Offer Words of Comfort on Mother's Day," 30 Apr. 2019 According to health officials, approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected with the virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "DuPage County reports its first West Nile virus case of 2019. Lombard woman became ill in late August. State total is at 4.," 11 Sep. 2019 Those who do get sick may develop fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, vomiting or diarrhea two to 14 days after being bitten, officials said. Washington Post, "Teenager dies after shooting in Southeast," 11 Sep. 2019 Mumps typically begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite lasting a few days. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Hundreds of detained migrants have had mumps, CDC reports," 30 Aug. 2019 Virus initial symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, weakness and rash. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Two first cases of human West Nile Virus in Weld County confirmed this season," 30 Aug. 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

17 Oct 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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