Contributed by Daniel Evans






               1. (verb) to have or give dull, steady pain

               2. (noun) a dull, continuous pain               


* Note: There are some other meanings, but they are much less common.


Usually, when something is painful, we say it hurts or it is a pain.  But in some situations, native English speakers will almost always use ache.

Here are some very common "ache nouns":

headache        toothache        earache       

stomach ache        back ache        neck ache


So for example, instead of saying

"I have a painful ear"  or   "My tooth is hurting" 

most native speakers would say

"I have an earache"   or   "I have a toothache"



We also usually use ache to talk about "muscle pain"


For example;

  • I went to the gym yesterday, so now I'm aching.
  • After the marathon, I had aching legs.
  • I did so much writing in school today that my wrist aches.
  • Following the Judo match, I started to feel an ache in my shoulder.

So, ache is a very useful word.  English speakers never use the expression "muscle pain", so we must use ache.