• synonyms


See more synonyms for aching on Thesaurus.com
  1. causing physical pain or distress: treatment for an aching back.
  2. full of or precipitating nostalgia, grief, loneliness, etc.
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Origin of aching

Middle English word dating back to 1200–1250; see origin at ache, -ing2
Related formsach·ing·ly, adverbun·ach·ing, adjectiveun·ach·ing·ly, adverb


verb (used without object), ached, ach·ing.
  1. to have or suffer a continuous, dull pain: His whole body ached.
  2. to feel great sympathy, pity, or the like: Her heart ached for the starving animals.
  3. to feel eager; yearn; long: She ached to be the champion. He's just aching to get even.
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  1. a continuous, dull pain (in contrast to a sharp, sudden, or sporadic pain).
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Origin of ache

before 900; (v.) Middle English aken, Old English acan; perhaps metaphoric use of earlier unattested sense “drive, impel” (compare Old Norse aka, cognate with Latin agere, Greek ágein); (noun) derivative of the v.


See more synonyms for ache on Thesaurus.com
1. hurt.

Synonym study

4. See pain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aching

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Aren't you just aching for a wee house of your own, the same way that I am!

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I went with my mind an aching void, and my heart a cold boiled potato.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • The other masters lived at a distance, and Ketch's old legs were aching.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • She thanked him, but it was with an aching heart, for Constance could not feel this hope.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Before morning I was aching all over: I had rheumatic fever.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for aching


verb (intr)
  1. to feel, suffer, or be the source of a continuous dull pain
  2. to suffer mental anguish
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  1. a continuous dull pain
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Derived Formsaching, adjectiveachingly, adverb

Word Origin

Old English ācan (vb), æce (n), Middle English aken (vb), ache (n). Compare bake, batch
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 aching



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.

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early 15c., æche, from Old English æce, from Proto-Germanic *akiz, from same source as ache (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aching in Medicine


  1. A dull persistent pain.
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  1. To suffer a dull, sustained pain.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.