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ail

[eyl]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be unwell; feel pain; be ill: He's been ailing for some time.

Origin of ail

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 confusedale ail awl

Synonyms

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1. bother, annoy, distress.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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, So haggard and so woe-begone?

    Mitch Miller

    Edgar Lee Masters

  • O, what can ail thee, knight at arms, Alone and palely loitering?

    Mitch Miller

    Edgar Lee Masters


British Dictionary definitions for ail

ail

verb
  1. (tr) to trouble; afflict
  2. (intr) 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

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