- 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 ached
I knew her—she was one of the ladies who invited me to tea because she ached to have children in her life.The Tragic, Heroic Women of World War I
June 29, 2014
If Hetty could have been transported to the spot, how would her heart have ached!Hetty's Strange History
And how often have I longed and ached to hear from my dear old dad again!The Spoilers of the Valley
Her heart ached at the word, ached with the longing for rest and peace.Nell, of Shorne Mills
But though he ached with fatigue from neck to heel, there was no sleep for him.Despair's Last Journey
David Christie Murray
At last I was able to open my eyes, which ached as if needles had been stuck into them.In the Forbidden Land
Arnold Henry Savage Landor
- 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 ached
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.