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).
contemporary examples

i knew her—she was one of the ladies who invited me to tea because she ached to have children in her life.
the tragic, heroic women of world war i jacqueline winspear june 28, 2014

historical examples

mr. bro’nsill he allus pulls my teeth, and dey nebber has been one what ached as bad as dis.’
john gayther’s garden and the stories told therein frank r. stockton

if hetty could have been transported to the spot, how would her heart have ached!
hetty’s strange history anonymous

and the heart of the old man yearned toward him and ached bitterly for him.
the atlantic monthly, volume 16, no. 96, october 1865 various

and how often have i longed and ached to hear from my dear old dad again!
the spoilers of the valley robert watson

baby as i was, i had ached in the agonizing cold of a pioneer winter.
the log-cabin lady, an anonymous autobiography unknown

her heart ached at the word, ached with the longing for rest and peace.
nell, of shorne mills charles garvice

i ached to speak to him, and still we remained silent and apart.
swirling waters max rittenberg

but though he ached with fatigue from neck to heel, there was no sleep for him.
despair’s last journey david christie murray

from head to foot he ached with weariness, and he felt wretchedly sick.
the delafield affair florence finch kelly

verb (intransitive)
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 pr-nounced “ake,” the noun “ache” (as in speak/speech) but while the noun changed pr-nunciation to conform to the verb, the spelling of both was changed to ache c.1700 on a false -ssumption 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.).

ache (āk)
a dull persistent pain. v. ached, ach·ing, aches
to suffer a dull, sustained pain.
american college of healthcare executives
american council for headache education

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