from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To suffer a dull, sustained pain.
  • intransitive v. To feel sympathy or compassion.
  • intransitive v. To yearn painfully: refugees who ached for their homeland.
  • n. A dull, steady pain. See Synonyms at pain.
  • n. A longing or desire; a yen.
  • n. A painful sorrow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To suffer pain; to be the source of, or be in, pain, especially continued dull pain; to be distressed.
  • n. Continued dull pain, as distinguished from sudden twinges, or spasmodic pain.
  • n. Parsley.
  • n. A variant spelling of aitch.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Continued pain, as distinguished from sudden twinges, or spasmodic pain. “Such an ache in my bones.”
  • intransitive v. To suffer pain; to have, or be in, pain, or in continued pain; to be distressed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To suffer pain; have or be in pain, or in continued pain; be distressed physically: as, his whole body ached.
  • n. Pain of some duration, in opposition to sudden twinges or spasmodic pain; a continued dull or heavy pain, as in toothache or earache.
  • n. Synonyms See pain, n., and agony.
  • n. A name of garden-parsley, Petroselinum sativum.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. have a desire for something or someone who is not present
  • n. a dull persistent (usually moderately intense) pain
  • v. feel physical pain
  • v. be the source of pain


Middle English aken, from Old English acan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English aken (v), and ache (noun), from Old English acan (v) (from Proto-Germanic *akanan (“to be bad, be evil”)) and æċe (noun) (from Proto-Germanic *akiz), both from Proto-Indo-European *ag- (“sin, crime”). Cognate with Low German aken, achen, äken ("to hurt, to ache"), North Frisian akelig, æklig ("terrible, miserable, sharp, intense"), West Frisian aaklik ("nasty, horrible, dismal, dreary"), Dutch akelig ("nasty, horrible"). The noun was originally pronounced as spelled, with a palatized ch sound (compare batch, from bake); the verb was originally strong, conjugating for tense like take (e.g. I ake, I oke, I have aken), but gradually became weak during Middle English. Historically the verb was spelled ake, and the noun ache. The verb came to be spelled like the noun when Samuel Johnson mistakenly assumed that it derived from Ancient Greek ἄχος (áchos, "pain") due to the similarity in form and meaning of the two words. (Wiktionary)
From Old French and modern French ache, from Latin apium ("parsley"). (Wiktionary)
Representing the pronunciation of the letter H. (Wiktionary)



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