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Syllabification: ache

Definition of ache in English:


1A continuous or prolonged dull pain in a part of one’s body: the ache in her head worsened
More example sentences
  • She got out of bed, her body protesting with aches and stiffness.
  • He tried to sit up but the aches in his body made him lie back flat on the bed.
  • We listened to more Berber wisdom; their main cure, apart from the garlic, being the wonderment of first pressing olive oil for everything from backache to stomach aches.
pain, cramp, twinge, pang;
gnawing, stabbing, stinging, smarting;
2 [in singular] An emotion experienced with painful or bittersweet intensity: an ache in her heart
More example sentences
  • But surprisingly to her, the painful ache in her heart did not come, nor did tears well up in her eyes.
  • And now there is an intense ache where he was, where he would have been in all these things.
  • It's more brazen, more shot through with the raw ache of relationships and the nakedness of emotional experience.


[no object] Back to top  
1(Of a person) suffer from a continuous dull pain: I’m aching all over
More example sentences
  • But by now I was bed-bound, unable to think straight, aching continually with what appeared to be a consistent low-grade flu.
  • He was sore and ached, but his leg suffered no real damage.
  • She was aching with pain and felt weak, helpless, frightened and much worse than any of those combined: hopeless.
hurt, be sore, be painful, be in pain, pain, throb, pound, twinge;
smart, burn
1.1(Of a part of one’s body) be the source of a continuous dull pain: my legs ached from the previous day’s exercise
More example sentences
  • She breathed out slowly, her body aching and in pain everywhere.
  • His body ached as the pain shot through him from the meeting with the wood floor.
  • Also my body is aching a bit, especially my right wrist.
2Feel intense sadness or compassion: she sat still and silent, her heart aching she looked so tired that my heart ached for her
More example sentences
  • That had been less than a year ago, and Inger's tender heart ached for the child's obvious yearning for comfort.
  • He heart ached for his life and the sadness she felt was far deeper than the pain in her leg or arm.
  • Cameron's heart ached for this poor girl; she looked so hurt when she talked about it.
grieve, sorrow, be in distress, be miserable, be in anguish, bleed
3Feel an intense desire for: she ached for his touch [with infinitive]: he was aching to get his hands on the ball
More example sentences
  • Lydia's fists curled and tightened, aching with the desire to smash his face in.
  • So he had forced himself to leave, though he had been almost aching with desire.
  • A newly orphaned high school boy aches with desire for the savage attentions of the class bully.
long for, yearn for, hunger for, thirst for, hanker for, pine for, itch for;


Old English æce (noun), acan (verb). In Middle English and early modern English the noun was spelled atche and pronounced so as to rhyme with 'batch', the verb was spelled and pronounced as it is today. The noun began to be pronounced like the verb around 1700. The modern spelling is largely due to Dr. Johnson, who mistakenly assumed its derivation to be from Greek akhos 'pain'.


aches and pains

Minor pains and discomforts, typically in the muscles.
Example sentences
  • Common symptoms include cramps in the legs, and aches and pains in the muscles, headaches and eye pains.
  • The signs of cold or flu are sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, fever, or minor aches and pains.
  • Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.

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