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ail

[eyl] /eɪl/
verb (used with object)
1.
to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
verb (used without object)
2.
to be unwell; feel pain; be ill:
He's been ailing for some time.
Origin of ail
950
before 950; Middle English ail, eilen, Old English eglan to afflict (cognate with Middle Low German egelen annoy, Gothic -agljan), derivative of egle painful; akin to Gothic agls shameful, Sanskrit aghám evil, pain
Can be confused
ale, ail, awl.
Synonyms
1. bother, annoy, distress.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ail
Historical Examples
  • 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 George MacDonald
  • Seek your sa' where you got your ail, and beg your barm where you buy your ale.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
  • O, what can ail thee, knight at arms, Alone and palely loitering?

    Mitch Miller Edgar Lee Masters
  • O, what can ail thee, knight at arms, So haggard and so woe-begone?

    Mitch Miller Edgar Lee Masters
  • The adult ram is signified by the word "ayil," or "ail," and the ewe by "rakal."

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • No, nothing might ail him bodily; but mentally—ah, how much!

    Johnny Ludlow, Sixth Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • His shin and his knee are hardly to be seen to ail any thing.

    Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded Samuel Richardson
  • The idea that he could ever ail in mind or body never occurred to her.

    The Tree of Knowledge

    Mrs. Baillie Reynolds
  • I trust I may be justified in telling thee that there is not much to ail my girl.

    Marion Fay

    Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for ail

ail

/eɪl/
verb
1.
(transitive) to trouble; afflict
2.
(intransitive) to feel unwell
Word Origin
Old English eglan to trouble, from egle troublesome, painful, related to Gothic agls shameful
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 ail
v.

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]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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