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[eyl] /eɪl/
verb (used with object)
to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
verb (used without object)
to be unwell; feel pain; be ill:
He's been ailing for some time.
before 950; Middle English ail, eilen, Old English eglan to afflict (cognate with Middle Low German egelen annoy, Gothic -agljan), derivative of egle painful; akin to Gothic agls shameful, Sanskrit aghám evil, pain
Can be confused
ale, ail, awl.
1. bother, annoy, distress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for ail
  • He would probably be in ail except that the only real witness against him is also a crook and a liar.
  • Another fact you ail to demonstrate is how the wealthy somehow get rich on the back of the poor.
British Dictionary definitions for ail


(transitive) to trouble; afflict
(intransitive) to feel unwell
Word Origin
Old English eglan to trouble, from egle troublesome, painful, related to Gothic agls shameful
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ail
O.E. eglian "to trouble, plague, afflict," from P.Gmc. *azljaz (cf. O.E. egle "hideous, loathsome, troublesome, painful;" Goth. agls "shameful, disgraceful," agliþa "distress, affliction, hardship," us-agljan "to oppress, afflict"), from PIE *agh-lo-, suffixed form of base *agh- "to be depressed, be afraid." Related: Ailing (c.1600); ailment formed in Eng. 1706.
"It is remarkable, that this word is never used but with some indefinite term, or the word no thing; as What ails him? ... Thus we never say, a fever ails him." [Johnson]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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