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

Synonyms: Noun

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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 In court filings and interviews, dozens of prisoners complained that their decaying teeth were left to rot and ache. NBC News, 22 July 2021 There’s not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t ache. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 July 2021 Your shoulders will hunch forward and your body will ache. Carla Ciccone, The New Yorker, 12 June 2021 This caused my head to ache as if my brain were being twisted into a pretzel. cleveland, 11 May 2021 Isaac didn’t win either of the Oscars he was nominated for Sunday night, and the friend and fan in me couldn’t help but ache for him a little. Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2021 But then, last Monday, Nihart’s body began to ache. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2020 On April 17, his head began to ache and his chest felt impossibly tight. Michael M. Phillips And Brianna Abbott, WSJ, 25 Sep. 2020 Thumbs will ache, controllers will be thrown, tears will be shed and curses will reverberate through the house. Gieson Cacho, Star Tribune, 26 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Every headache was a brain tumor; every ache was cancer; every rash was something untreatable and fatal. Molly Jong-fas, Vogue, 26 Aug. 2021 Their ache to love each other openly and to achieve economic prosperity prompted them to set out separately on a perilous border-crossing odyssey. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2021 The show is savvy enough to sense how easily human ache can fall prey to the manipulative language of certain practitioners, and how alluring psychobabble can be, in the right context. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 19 Aug. 2021 The emotional ache of it all drained the son’s gas tank, along with the grind of the first half of the season. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 July 2021 But many, especially in the Black community, are warning that an ache for normalcy must be resisted. BostonGlobe.com, 9 June 2021 For some people, sciatica pain is a mild ache or a sharp excruciating sensation, the Mayo Clinic explains. Sarah Jacob, SELF, 1 July 2021 Fifteen years ago, my then-45-year-old husband, Robert, was suffering from the worst headache and neck ache of his life. Star Tribune, 10 June 2021 And Olivia Rodrigo, a new hero and teen pop sensation, released Sour, an album that perfectly captures the soul-ache of teenhood. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 27 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for ache

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ache

achatter

ache

Achebe

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Statistics for ache

Last Updated

2 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ache.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ache. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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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

ache

intransitive verb
\ 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

AChE

abbreviation

Medical Definition of AChE (Entry 3 of 3)

acetylcholinesterase

More from Merriam-Webster on ache

Nglish: Translation of ache for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ache for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ache

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