The verb ail means to be sick or unwell — or cause to be so. If you feel a general malaise, someone may ask what ails you, though you may just need a vacation from work or school.

The verb ail is used for things that are metaphorically unwell or unhealthy. Politicians, for example, will often tell their constituents that the only cure for what ails the country is to vote for them. Ail is used when referring to non-specific illnesses. So you are sick with the flu, or troubled by allergies, but you are not ailing because you know what's wrong. It's when you're sick but it hasn't been diagnosed that you are ailing.

Definitions of ail
  1. verb
    be ill or unwell
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    type of:
    hurt, suffer
    feel pain or be in pain
  2. verb
    cause bodily suffering to and make sick or indisposed
    synonyms: pain, trouble
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    break out, erupt, recrudesce
    become raw or open
    type of:
    give trouble or pain to
  3. noun
    aromatic bulb used as seasoning
    synonyms: garlic
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    clove, garlic clove
    one of the small bulblets that can be split off of the axis of a larger garlic bulb
    type of:
    flavorer, flavoring, flavourer, flavouring, seasoner, seasoning
    something added to food primarily for the savor it imparts
Word Family