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[eyk] /eɪk/
verb (used without object), ached, aching.
to have or suffer a continuous, dull pain:
His whole body ached.
to feel great sympathy, pity, or the like:
Her heart ached for the starving animals.
to feel eager; yearn; long:
She ached to be the champion. He's just aching to get even.
a continuous, dull pain (in contrast to a sharp, sudden, or sporadic pain).
Origin of ache
before 900; (v.) Middle English aken, Old English acan; perhaps metaphoric use of earlier unattested sense “drive, impel” (compare Old Norse aka, cognate with Latin agere, Greek ágein); (noun) derivative of the v.
1. hurt.
Synonym Study
4. See pain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ached
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If Hetty could have been transported to the spot, how would her heart have ached!

  • And how often have I longed and ached to hear from my dear old dad again!

  • Her heart ached at the word, ached with the longing for rest and peace.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills

    Charles Garvice
  • But though he ached with fatigue from neck to heel, there was no sleep for him.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • At last I was able to open my eyes, which ached as if needles had been stuck into them.

    In the Forbidden Land Arnold Henry Savage Landor
  • It seemed to come closer to her, and to fill an emptiness that ached in her heart.

    O Pioneers! Willa Cather
  • She longed to be free from her own body, which ached and was so heavy.

    O Pioneers! Willa Cather
  • He had his thoughts, thoughts that set his jaws till they ached.

    Terry Charles Goff Thomson
  • It throbbed in his temples, ached to the ends of his toes, set his body aflame with it.

    The Monster S. M. Tenneshaw
British Dictionary definitions for ached


verb (intransitive)
to feel, suffer, or be the source of a continuous dull pain
to suffer mental anguish
a continuous dull pain
Derived Forms
aching, adjective
achingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English ācan (vb), æce (n), Middle English aken (vb), ache (n). Compare bake, batch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ached



Old English acan "to ache, suffer pain," from Proto-Germanic *akanan, perhaps from a PIE root *ag-es- "fault, guilt," represented also in Sanskrit and Greek, perhaps imitative of groaning. The verb was pronounced "ake," the noun "ache" (as in speak/speech) but while the noun changed pronunciation to conform to the verb, the spelling of both was changed to ache c.1700 on a false assumption of a Greek origin (specifically Greek akhos "pain, distress," which is rather a distant relation of awe (n.)). Related: Ached; aching.



early 15c., æche, from Old English æce, from Proto-Germanic *akiz, from same source as ache (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ached in Medicine

ache (āk)
A dull persistent pain. v. ached, ach·ing, aches
To suffer a dull, sustained pain.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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