Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[eyl] /eɪl/
verb (used with object)
to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
verb (used without object)
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 confused
ale, ail, awl.
1. bother, annoy, distress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for ail
Historical Examples
  • At this instant the chief surgeon was beginning to feel the injured thigh and point out to the pupils the extent of the ail.

    The Mesmerist's Victim Alexandre Dumas
  • O, what can ail thee, knight at arms, So haggard and so woe-begone?

    Mitch Miller Edgar Lee Masters
  • After ail, this was the point for the sake of which those laborious investigations had been undertaken.

    Edward Caldwell Moore Edward Moore
  • Weel, maybe I was thinkin' hoo I wad leuk at her gin onything did ail her.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • Adjectives in ail derived from Nouns; as, from fear man, fearail manful; from caraid a friend, cairdail contr.

    Elements of Gaelic Grammar Alexander Stewart
  • The adult ram is signified by the word "ayil," or "ail," and the ewe by "rakal."

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • Abe Hardin', for heaven's sakes, can't you pick up your moorin's, or what does ail you?

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • No, nothing might ail him bodily; but mentally—ah, how much!

    Johnny Ludlow, Sixth Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • O souls what ail thee, its envy's dark cloud broader than the earth, and deeper than the sea.

    The Secret of the Creation Howard D. Pollyen
  • His shin and his knee are hardly to be seen to ail any thing.

    Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded Samuel Richardson
British Dictionary definitions for ail


(transitive) to trouble; afflict
(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
Cite This Source
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]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ail

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ail

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for ail