The Alternative English Dictionary: ail

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Entry definition

ail pronunciation
  • (UK) /eɪl/
  • {{rhymes}}
etymology 1 From Middle English eyle, eile, from Old English eġle, from Proto-Germanic *agluz, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂egʰlo- 〈*h₂egʰlo-〉, *h₂egʰ- 〈*h₂egʰ-〉. Cognate with Gothic 𐌰𐌲𐌻𐌿𐍃 〈𐌰𐌲𐌻𐌿𐍃〉.
adjective: {{en-adj}}
  1. (obsolete) Painful; troublesome.
etymology 2 From Old English eġlan, eġlian, cognate with Gothic 𐌰𐌲𐌻𐌾𐌰𐌽 〈𐌰𐌲𐌻𐌾𐌰𐌽〉.
verb: {{en-verb}}
  1. (transitive) To cause to suffer; to trouble, afflict. (Now chiefly in interrogative or indefinite constructions.) Have some chicken soup. It's good for what ails you.
    • Bible, Genesis xxi. 17 What aileth thee, Hagar?
    • 2011, "Connubial bliss in America", The Economist: Not content with having in 1996 put a Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the statue book, Congress has now begun to hold hearings on a Respect for Marriage Act. Defended, respected: what could possibly ail marriage in America?
  2. (intransitive) To be ill; to suffer; to be troubled.
    • Richardson When he ails ever so little … he is so peevish.
  • {{seeCites}}
noun: {{en-noun}}
  1. An ailment; trouble; illness.
etymology 3 From Old English eġl.
noun: {{en-noun}}
  1. The awn of barley or other types of corn.
  • Ali
  • lai, Lai

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