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[hed-eyk] /ˈhɛdˌeɪk/
a pain located in the head, as over the eyes, at the temples, or at the base of the skull.
an annoying or bothersome person, situation, activity, etc.
Origin of headache
before 1000; Middle English; Old English hēafodece. See head, ache Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for headache
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Carlotta Harrison pleaded a headache, and was excused from the operating-room and from prayers.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The nurses' rooms were subject to inspection, and she had pleaded a headache.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Let me hit you but one box on the ear, and you'll never have the headache again.

    Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Mrs. Beaufort, languid and afflicted with headache, said little.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • He went to the dinner, but she did not appear: she had a headache, his hostess explained.

    The Greater Inclination Edith Wharton
British Dictionary definitions for headache


pain in the head, caused by dilation of cerebral arteries, muscle contraction, insufficient oxygen in the cerebral blood, reaction to drugs, etc Technical name cephalalgia
(informal) any cause of worry, difficulty, or annoyance
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 headache

Old English heafodece; see head (n.) + ache (n.). Colloquial sense of "troublesome problem" is first recorded 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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headache in Medicine

headache head·ache (hěd'āk')
A pain in the head. Also called cephalalgia.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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headache in Science
Pain in the head, caused by stimulation of or pressure to any of various structures of the head, such as tissue covering the cranium, cranial nerves, or blood vessels. Headache can be a primary disorder, as in migraine or cluster headaches, or a common symptom associated with head injury or many illnesses such as acute infection, brain tumor or abscess, eye disorders such as glaucoma, dental disease, and hypertension. See also cluster headache, migraine.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for headache



Any trouble, annoyance, vexation, etc: another headache for pro coaches (1934+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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