ail

verb
\ ˈāl \
ailed; ailing; ails

Definition of ail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give physical or emotional pain, discomfort, or trouble to His back has been ailing him. It's good for what ails you. What's ailing you?

intransitive verb

: to have something the matter an ailing economy especially : to suffer ill health She has been ailing for years.

ail

noun

Definition of ail (Entry 2 of 2)

: ailment winter ails

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ail in a Sentence

Noun

half of the staff is out sick with the usual wintertime ails

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Gary Harris worked his way back from an ailing hip before being sidelined again with a tight hamstring. Pat Graham, The Seattle Times, "Jokic, Nuggets remain on top in West halfway through season," 14 Jan. 2019 The unsecured creditors, and many landlords, don’t want Mr. Lampert to keep the ailing chain alive. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Edward Lampert Scrambles to Keep Sears Alive," 7 Jan. 2019 The battle between ailing electric car startup Faraday Future and its main investor, Chinese real estate giant Evergrande, escalated once again on Wednesday. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Faraday Future employees sue investor over ‘conspiracy’ to destroy the EV startup," 14 Nov. 2018 These ailing former imbibers could collectively drag down the health of the non-drinking group, making drinkers and drinking appear healthier, or so the hypothesis goes. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "There’s no risk-free amount of alcohol, population-level study finds," 27 Aug. 2018 As a wise man once proclaimed, Chelsea's biggest problem right now is their ailing midfield, so why not take a chance on the one time English Xavi, even if that one time was seven years ago. SI.com, "Why Chelsea Should Take a Punt on Super Jack Wilshere and Make Him the Golden Boy He Deserves to Be," 22 June 2018 And on April 2, 2018, First Energy appealed for emergency help after a subsidiary containing ailing power plants filed for bankruptcy protection. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Trump orders Energy Dept. to halt shutdown of coal, nuclear plants," 1 June 2018 Shari Redstone, daughter of the ailing 94-year-old mogul, has been keen to unite the two companies at a time of growing uncertainty in the media business. Meg James, latimes.com, "CBS expected to make low-ball bid for Viacom," 2 Apr. 2018 Most people can agree that coconut oil is seemingly a magic elixir for anything that ails you. Korin Miller, SELF, "Does Coconut Oil Actually Work Any Magic on Eczema?," 19 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Brian Dennehy is Irina’s ailing elder brother, Sorin, although Dennehy, at seventy-nine, still looks too bearishly robust to ail. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“First Reformed” and “The Seagull”," 11 May 2018 The pitch inherently presumes a technologically advanced society, one where medicine has cured our physical ails. Will Nevin, OregonLive.com, "TBT #22: Join a 'Cold War,' take a 'Void Trip'," 26 Dec. 2017 Normally served on the street, ya dong’s herbal powers are said to cure bodily ails. Natalie B. Compton, GQ, "The Best Bars in Bangkok, as Told by Locals," 1 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ail

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ail

Verb and Noun

Middle English eilen, from Old English eglan; akin to Goth agljan to harm

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ail

Statistics for ail

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ail

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ail

ail

verb
\ ˈāl \

Kids Definition of ail

1 : to be wrong with What ails you?
2 : to suffer especially with ill health She has been ailing for years.
\ ˈā(ə)l \

Medical Definition of ail

: to affect with a disease or physical or emotional pain or discomfort what ails the patient

intransitive verb

: to become affected with pain or discomfort : to suffer ill health was ailing from a cold

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ail

Spanish Central: Translation of ail

Nglish: Translation of ail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ail

What made you want to look up ail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!