- to have or suffer a continuous, dull pain: His whole body ached.
- to feel great sympathy, pity, or the like: Her heart ached for the starving animals.
- to feel eager; yearn; long: She ached to be the champion. He's just aching to get even.
- a continuous, dull pain (in contrast to a sharp, sudden, or sporadic pain).
Origin of ache
SynonymsSee more synonyms for ache on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ache
Around 3am, my spindly legs are beginning to ache from balancing on deck, as we heel with each tack.Inside Sailing’s Biggest Race
October 11, 2014
But the ache got worse and worse and the next time I fell I couldn't pick him up again, so I dragged him home by the leg.
I moved him from one shoulder to the other, trying to get rid of the ache in the muscles.
I miss it with an ache every day of my life, and I fear for the family I have in the Negev, where Palestinian rockets land.For Israel—With Love And Squalor
Emily L. Hauser
November 15, 2012
If you've occupied the different points on a romantic triangle, your heart might ache just a bit thinking about these three.Chile's Etiquette of Love
October 16, 2010
She had dreaded her loneliness with the ache that is despair; but she was not lonely any more.Tiverton Tales
It made his eyes yearn for the sight of her with an ache that was physical.The Gentleman From Indiana
For my own part I was now feeling the ache of numerous and severe bruises.Wilfrid Cumbermede
Many years ago she died, but the ache comes back now, as I think of her.Kent Knowles: Quahaug
Joseph C. Lincoln
"Your father is nothing but an ache and a stound to you, lass," Sim would say in a whimper.The Shadow of a Crime
- to feel, suffer, or be the source of a continuous dull pain
- to suffer mental anguish
- a continuous dull pain
Word Origin and History for ache
Old English acan "to ache, suffer pain," from Proto-Germanic *akanan, perhaps from a PIE root *ag-es- "fault, guilt," represented also in Sanskrit and Greek, perhaps imitative of groaning. The verb was pronounced "ake," the noun "ache" (as in speak/speech) but while the noun changed pronunciation to conform to the verb, the spelling of both was changed to ache c.1700 on a false assumption of a Greek origin (specifically Greek akhos "pain, distress," which is rather a distant relation of awe (n.)). Related: Ached; aching.
early 15c., æche, from Old English æce, from Proto-Germanic *akiz, from same source as ache (v.).
- A dull persistent pain.
- To suffer a dull, sustained pain.