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Ache vs. Hurt: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
An ache is a continuous dull pain, whereas hurt encompasses a wider range of pain types and can also be used as a verb.
Ache vs. Hurt

Key Differences

An ache is usually a steady, dull pain that is often less intense but more prolonged. It is something one feels, for example, after extended physical exertion or during a mild illness.
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Nov 30, 2023
Hurt is a broader term that can refer to both physical pain and emotional distress. It can also be used as a verb to indicate the action of causing pain or as a noun to describe the sensation of pain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023
An ache tends to be specific and localized, such as a headache or a stomachache, suggesting a persistent discomfort. It is often used to describe a sensation that is bearable but continuously bothersome.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023
Hurt, when used as a verb, implies the act of causing pain or damage, such as "Do not hurt yourself," while as a noun, it refers to the feeling of pain that can range from mild to severe, such as "I feel a hurt in my arm."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023
In common usage, an ache is often associated with chronic conditions, like an arthritic ache, which lasts over a long period, whereas hurt can be used for sudden and acute sensations resulting from injuries or immediate emotional pain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Type of Pain

Dull and continuous.
Can be sharp, acute, or dull; more varied.
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Nov 30, 2023

Duration

Typically long-lasting.
Can be transient or long-lasting.
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Usage as a Part of Speech

Usually a noun.
Can be a noun or a verb.
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Nov 30, 2023

Emotional Connotation

Less commonly used for emotional pain.
Often used for both physical and emotional pain.
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Nov 30, 2023

Examples

Headache, muscle ache.
Injury pain, emotional distress, offense.
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Nov 30, 2023
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Ache and Hurt Definitions

Ache

A continuous dull pain in a part of one's body.
The ache in her joints worsened with the cold weather.
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Nov 08, 2023

Hurt

To cause physical pain or injury.
She hurt her ankle during the hike.
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Nov 08, 2023

Ache

A longing or strong desire that is somewhat sad.
She felt an ache in her heart whenever she thought of her childhood home.
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Nov 08, 2023

Hurt

To feel pain in a part of the body.
His arm hurt after the fall.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Ache

A symptom characterized by persistent discomfort.
The dull ache in his back was a reminder of his strenuous job.
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Nov 08, 2023
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Hurt

To be detrimental to something, such as a cause or a feeling.
Skipping practice will only hurt your chances of making the team.
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Nov 08, 2023

Ache

A persistent pain that is usually not sharp or intense.
After the marathon, his legs were filled with an exhausting ache.
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Nov 08, 2023

Hurt

To cause physical damage or pain to (an individual or a body part); injure
The fall hurt his back.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

An emotion or feeling of sorrow or empathy.
His story of struggle left an ache in the listeners' hearts.
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Nov 08, 2023

Hurt

To experience injury or pain to or in (an individual or a body part)
I hurt my knee skiing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

To suffer a dull, sustained pain.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause mental or emotional suffering to; distress
The remark hurt his feelings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

To feel sympathy or compassion
Ached for his heartbroken friend.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause physical damage to (something); harm
The frost hurt the orange crop.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

To yearn or long
Refugees who ached for their homeland.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To be detrimental to; hinder or impair
The scandal hurt the candidate's chances for victory.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

A dull, steady pain.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To have or produce a feeling of physical pain or discomfort
My leg hurts.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

A painful sorrow.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause distress or damage
Parental neglect hurts.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

A longing or desire.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To have an adverse effect
“It never hurt to have a friend at court” (Tom Clancy).
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

To suffer pain; to be the source of, or be in, pain, especially continued dull pain; to be distressed.
My feet were aching for days after the marathon.
Every muscle in his body ached.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

(Informal) To experience distress, especially of a financial kind; be in need
“Even in a business that's hurting there's always a guy who can make a buck” (New York).
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

To cause someone or something to suffer pain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Something that hurts; a pain, injury, or wound.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

Continued dull pain, as distinguished from sudden twinges, or spasmodic pain.
You may suffer a minor ache in your side.
The aches and pains died down after taking an analgesic.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Mental suffering; anguish
Getting over the hurt of reading the letter.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

(obsolete) parsley
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

A wrong; harm
What hurt have you done to them?.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

Rare spelling of aitch
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause (a person or animal) physical pain and/or injury.
If anybody hurts my little brother, I will get upset.
This injection might hurt a little.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

Continued pain, as distinguished from sudden twinges, or spasmodic pain. "Such an ache in my bones."
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause (somebody) emotional pain.
He was deeply hurt he hadn’t been invited.
The insult hurt.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

To suffer pain; to have, or be in, pain, or in continued pain; to be distressed.
The sins that in your conscience ache.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To be painful.
Does your leg still hurt? / It is starting to feel better.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

A dull persistent (usually moderately intense) pain
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To damage, harm, impair, undermine, impede.
This latest gaffe hurts the legislator’s reelection prospects still further.
Copying and pasting identical portions of source code hurts maintainability, because the programmer has to keep all those copies synchronized.
Every little hurts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Ache

Feel physical pain;
Were you hurting after the accident?
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Wounded, physically injured.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

Have a desire for something or someone who is not present;
She ached for a cigarette
I am pining for my lover
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Pained.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ache

Be the source of pain
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

An emotional or psychological humiliation or bad experience.
How to overcome old hurts of the past
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

(archaic) A bodily injury causing pain; a wound or bruise.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

(archaic) Injury; damage; detriment; harm
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

(engineering) A band on a trip hammer's helve, bearing the trunnions.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

A husk.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

(heraldry) A roundel azure (blue circular spot).
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

A band on a trip-hammer helve, bearing the trunnions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause physical pain to; to do bodily harm to; to wound or bruise painfully.
The hurt lion groans within his den.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To impar the value, usefulness, beauty, or pleasure of; to damage; to injure; to harm.
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To wound the feelings of; to cause mental pain to; to offend in honor or self-respect; to annoy; to grieve.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Any physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident or fracture etc.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Psychological suffering;
The death of his wife caused him great distress
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Hurt

Feelings of mental or physical pain
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

A damage or loss
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

The act of damaging something or someone
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Be the source of pain
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Give trouble or pain to;
This exercise will hurt your back
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Cause emotional anguish or make miserable;
It pains me to see my children not being taught well in school
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Cause damage or affect negatively;
Our business was hurt by the new competition
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Hurt the feelings of;
She hurt me when she did not include me among her guests
This remark really bruised me ego
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Feel physical pain;
Were you hurting after the accident?
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Feel pain or be in pain
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Suffering from physical injury especially that suffered in battle;
Nursing his wounded arm
Ambulances...for the hurt men and women
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

Used of inanimate objects or their value
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Oct 19, 2023

Hurt

To cause emotional pain or distress.
His harsh words hurt her deeply.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Hurt

The experience or action of feeling pain.
He was surprised that the burn didn’t hurt as much as he expected.
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Nov 08, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can "ache" be used as a verb?

Yes, one can say "My head aches."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "hurt" always associated with serious pain?

No, "hurt" can refer to any level of discomfort.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "ache" refer to emotional pain?

It's less common but can denote a deep, persistent emotional feeling.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "hurt" used in medical terminology?

"Hurt" is less formal and not typically used in medical diagnoses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Does "hurt" imply suddenness?

"Hurt" can be used for both sudden pain and existing pain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is an ache always a physical sensation?

No, an ache can also refer to emotional or psychological discomfort, such as a heartache.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "ache" be used metaphorically?

Yes, such as "aching for a lost love."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "ache" synonymous with "pain"?

While they are related, "ache" often implies a milder, lingering discomfort, whereas "pain" can be more intense and acute.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can both "ache" and "hurt" be signs of an injury?

Yes, both can indicate injury but in different intensities or durations.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

What does "ache" mean?

"Ache" is a dull, continuous pain or discomfort, often associated with a part of the body or emotional distress.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "hurt" typically associated with physical injuries?

"Hurt" can refer to both physical and emotional injuries. It encompasses any form of harm that causes distress.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "hurt" synonymous with "injure"?

While they are related, "injure" typically refers to causing harm, while "hurt" focuses on the experience of pain or suffering.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

What is the meaning of "hurt"?

"Hurt" refers to physical or emotional injury, damage, or harm that causes pain or distress.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Are there different types of aches?

Yes, there are various types of aches, such as a headache, stomachache, or toothache, each associated with a specific area of discomfort.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "hurt" be used to describe emotional pain?

Yes, "hurt" is commonly used to express emotional distress or sadness, such as when someone's feelings are hurt.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "hurt" be used as a noun?

Yes, "hurt" can also be a noun, referring to the feeling of pain or injury. For example, "I felt a deep hurt."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Are there different degrees of "hurt"?

Yes, "hurt" can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, depending on the context and the extent of the injury or emotional distress.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Can "hurt" also describe damage to non-living things?

Yes, "hurt" can be used metaphorically to describe damage or harm to objects or concepts, such as "The storm hurt the crops."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

Is "hurt" always negative?

While "hurt" typically denotes a negative experience, it can also be used in certain contexts where pain or discomfort is necessary for growth or improvement. For example, "No pain, no gain" suggests that some forms of hurt can lead to positive outcomes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 30, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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