- to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
- to be unwell; feel pain; be ill: He's been ailing for some time.
Origin of ail
SynonymsSee more synonyms for ail on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ails
A libertarian foreign policy is the only cure for what ails us abroad.After Bipartisan Bush-Obama Blundering, Let’s Try a Libertarian Foreign Policy
July 16, 2014
If America is fortunate, the economy will continue to improve, while the 2016 campaign will focus on what ails the country.Stock Market America and the Rest of Us
July 10, 2014
In the long run, taking the pain now might just be the best medicine for the rot of hyper-partisanship that ails our body politic.
John Avlon on the rot of hyper-partisanship that ails our body politic.
From The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin.How to Cure Your Anxiety? Read Henry James’s ‘The Portrait of a Lady,’ Of Course.
Ella Berthoud, Susan Elderkind
September 26, 2013
The child sobbed dreadfully, and could scarcely say, "I do not know what ails my mother."Rico and Wiseli
Why—it never can be that—old Butterby—Arthur, what ails you?The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
I never knew you so sharp on a neighbour, Honor, before:—what ails ye?Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
Let's take a look in that clump of bushes and see who is there, and what ails him.The Dare Boys of 1776
Stephen Angus Cox
What ails Mignon that he should be looking at his wife in that severe way?
- (tr) to trouble; afflict
- (intr) to feel unwell
Word Origin and History for ails
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]