- to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
- to be unwell; feel pain; be ill: He's been ailing for some time.
Origin of ail
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ail
Somethin' seemed to ail him and he couldn't make out what 'twas.Thankful's Inheritance
Joseph C. Lincoln
Weel, maybe I was thinkin' hoo I wad leuk at her gin onything did ail her.David Elginbrod
Seek your sa' where you got your ail, and beg your barm where you buy your ale.The Proverbs of Scotland
O, what can ail thee, knight at arms, So haggard and so woe-begone?
O, what can ail thee, knight at arms, Alone and palely loitering?
- (tr) to trouble; afflict
- (intr) to feel unwell
Word Origin and History for ail
c.1300, from Old English eglan "to trouble, plague, afflict," from Proto-Germanic *azljaz (cf. Old English egle "hideous, loathsome, troublesome, painful;" Gothic agls "shameful, disgraceful," agliþa "distress, affliction, hardship," us-agljan "to oppress, afflict"), from PIE *agh-lo-, suffixed form of root *agh- "to be depressed, be afraid." Related: Ailed; ailing; ails.
It is remarkable, that this word is never used but with some indefinite term, or the word no thing; as What ails him? ... Thus we never say, a fever ails him. [Johnson]