Why was clemency trending last week?


[ey-ling] /ˈeɪ lɪŋ/
sickly; unwell.
unsound or troubled:
a financially ailing corporation.
Origin of ailing
1590-1600; ail + -ing2


[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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ailing
  • Libraries and university presses are both ailing and desperate.
  • Doctors have struggled to distinguish the ailing from the malingering.
  • The killer could be a painkiller commonly fed to ailing livestock.
  • While those leaders' gifts may not do much to offset ailing budgets, they have resonated on their respective campuses.
  • The mission successfully installed two new science tools, fixed two ailing ones, and replaced batteries and gyrators.
  • Scientists believe the cells could be used to restore ailing hearts, livers and other organs.
  • It is difficult for a successful university to take over an ailing one, or for two complementary campuses to merge.
  • She said it is unusual for an ailing basking shark to come ashore.
  • His goal is to investigate how video games can work within, and perhaps help rescue, the ailing field of journalism.
  • Some are also resorting to an old tradition among ailing newspapers of seeking a sugar-daddy.
British Dictionary definitions for ailing


unwell or unsuccessful


(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 ailing



c.1300, from Old English eglan "to trouble, plague, afflict," from Proto-Germanic *azljaz (cf. Old English egle "hideous, loathsome, troublesome, painful;" Gothic agls "shameful, disgraceful," agliþa "distress, affliction, hardship," us-agljan "to oppress, afflict"), from PIE *agh-lo-, suffixed form of root *agh- "to be depressed, be afraid." Related: Ailed; ailing; ails.

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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