head·​ache | \ ˈhed-ˌāk How to pronounce headache (audio) \

Definition of headache

1 : pain in the head
2 : a vexatious or baffling situation or problem meetings had become a giant headache— Franklin Foer

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Other Words from headache

headachy or less commonly headachey \ ˈhed-​ˌā-​kē How to pronounce headache (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for headache


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Examples of headache in a Sentence

I'm starting to get a headache. The symptoms include fever and headache. The city's biggest headache is traffic. Managing your finances can be a real headache.
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Recent Examples on the Web Negotiators are touting positive signals from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the two recalcitrant Democratic senators who remain the biggest headache for Biden and party leaders. John Harwood, CNN, 13 Oct. 2021 By the third day, though, his eye had receded, and the headache lifted. Lynda Schuster, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 The lingering headache tightened its vise across my forehead. Seija Rankin, EW.com, 6 Oct. 2021 Then there’s the headache of submitting claims to insurance. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 5 Oct. 2021 While Boston presents the greatest potential headache due to its size, the confusion could play out across the state in any city that’s split into multiple legislative districts. BostonGlobe.com, 2 Oct. 2021 Does the headache get better or worse after the champagne soaks inside a shoe? Matt Young, Chron, 1 Oct. 2021 That’s why proper password practices are necessary and help prevent the headache of becoming a cybercrime victim. Mark Adams, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 No defensive coordinator in the league wants the headache of game-planning for JimmyTrey. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'headache.' 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 headache

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for headache

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near headache



headache plant

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Statistics for headache

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Headache.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headache. Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for headache



English Language Learners Definition of headache

: an ache or pain in the head
: a difficult or annoying situation or problem


head·​ache | \ ˈhed-ˌāk How to pronounce headache (audio) \

Kids Definition of headache

1 : pain in the head
2 : something that annoys or confuses This traffic is a real headache.


head·​ache | \ ˈhed-ˌāk How to pronounce headache (audio) \

Medical Definition of headache

: pain in the head

called also cephalalgia

Other Words from headache

headachy \ -​ˌā-​kē How to pronounce headache (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on headache

Nglish: Translation of headache for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of headache for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about headache


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