verb (used without object), ached, ach·ing.
- 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).
- to feel, suffer, or be the source of a continuous dull pain
- to suffer mental anguish
- a continuous dull pain
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.