causing physical pain or distress:
treatment for an aching back.
full of or precipitating nostalgia, grief, loneliness, etc.
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

She was left with an aching desire to turn back time and stop the progression of that clock.
The Professor and the Doomsday Clock: ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ & Signs of John Kennedy Toole’s Suicide Cory MacLauchlin December 16, 2012

Today, though our hearts are aching, we need to look up, where he is undoubtedly perched in a crescent moon, and we need to smile.
Best of the Memorial Service The Daily Beast July 6, 2009

Liberals are aching to see a Democratic president really tackle these issues in an aggressive way.
What Obama Can Learn From Elizabeth Warren Michael Tomasky December 16, 2013

The organization has been aching to move against the judiciary for some time, he said.
Deaths of Gaber Salah, Islam Masoud Signal Egypt’s Dangerous Divisions Alastair Beach November 26, 2012

These spectacles are planned with aching attention to detail.
Disorder of the Garter Tom Sykes June 13, 2012

Historical Examples

He lowered his head, and rested his aching brow against her cool, white hand.
The Nest of the Sparrowhawk Baroness Orczy

Aren’t you just aching for a wee house of your own, the same way that I am!
The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine

Rolling heavily to one side with a groan of pain forced from him by his aching head, he felt the cold chill of a stone floor.
The Harlequin Opal, Vol. 2 (of 3) Fergus Hume

The other masters lived at a distance, and Ketch’s old legs were aching.
The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood

It was there, want, aching in her heart, as she drew into her nostrils this strange and wealthy atmosphere.
The Garden Of Allah Robert Hichens

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 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.).

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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