Meaning of ACHE in English


I. ache 1 /eɪk/ BrE AmE verb [intransitive]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: acan ]

1 . if part of your body aches, you feel a continuous, but not very sharp pain there SYN hurt :

His feet were aching from standing so long.


In everyday English, people usually say they have a headache , have (a) backache , have (a) stomach ache , or have (a) toothache rather than saying that their head, back, etc aches :

▪ My head aches terribly. ➔ I have a terrible headache.

2 . to want to do or have something very much

ache for

I’m aching for sleep.

ache to do something

He ached to reach out and hold her close.

3 . to have a strong unhappy feeling

ache with

Sarah ached with sadness that her brother was so ill.

Tim’s heart was aching for her.

• • •


■ when part of your body feels painful

▪ hurt if part of your body hurts, it feels painful:

My chest hurts when I cough.

▪ ache to hurt with a continuous pain:

I’d been walking all day and my legs were really aching.

▪ throb to feel a bad pain that comes and goes again in a regular and continuous way:

Lou had a terrible headache and his whole head seemed to be throbbing.

▪ sting to feel a sharp pain, or to make someone feel this, especially in your eyes, throat, or skin:

My throat stings every time I swallow.


This injection may sting a little.

▪ smart to hurt with a sudden sharp pain – used especially about your eyes, or your skin where something has hit you:

Her eyes were smarting from the thick smoke.


Jackson’s face was still smarting from the punch.

▪ burn to feel very hot and painful or uncomfortable:

Be careful because this chemical will make your skin burn.


His eyes were burning because of the gas.

▪ pinch if something you are wearing pinches you, it is too tight and presses painfully on your skin:

The shirt was a bit too small and it was pinching my neck.

▪ something is killing me spoken informal used when something feels very painful:

My legs are killing me.


These shoes are killing me.

▪ a bad back/leg/arm etc if you have a bad back/leg/arm etc, it feels painful:

He’s off work with a bad back.

II. ache 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

1 . a continuous pain that is not sharp or very strong:

a stomach ache

A dull ache throbbed at the back of David’s head.

aches and pains (=slight feelings of pain that are not considered to be serious)

Apart from the usual aches and pains, she felt all right.

2 . a strong, mostly unhappy, feeling:

the ache of his loneliness

—achy adjective :

I’m feeling tired and achy.

• • •


▪ pain noun [uncountable and countable] the feeling when part of your body hurts:

A broken leg can cause a lot of pain.


He felt a sharp pain in his chest.

▪ ache noun [uncountable and countable] a continuous pain, especially one that is not very bad. Most commonly used in compounds such as headache , toothache , and backache :

I felt an ache in my back after decorating all day.


Driving gives me a headache.


I’ve got stomach ache.


Do you have earache?

▪ twinge noun [countable] a sudden slight pain that comes and then disappears quickly:

When I bent down I felt a twinge in my back.

▪ discomfort noun [uncountable] formal an uncomfortable feeling in your body, or a slight pain:

The procedure takes five minutes and only causes slight discomfort.

▪ agony noun [uncountable] a feeling of great pain, or a situation in which you feel a lot of pain:

the agony of childbirth


I was in agony by the time I got to the hospital.


It was agony (=very painful) getting up out of bed.

▪ suffering noun [uncountable] continuous physical or mental pain, which makes someone very unhappy:

I just wanted someone to put an end to my suffering.


the suffering of the earthquake victims

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.