The noun MELAGRA stands for rheumatic or myalgic pains in the arms or legs. This is the word I found which is closest to describing the kind of pain that one feels all over the body during fever or sometimes on a rainy day. In my native language, they say something like "my arms are being bitten/eaten away."

How do you say such a thing in English? The word melagra sounds too formal/medical. How do native English-speakers describe the pain that feels like being nibbled on?

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  • Hello, Nanashi. We'd just say "My legs ache" or "I ache all over", or "I feel like I'm being bitten on my legs". 'Melagra' is not a term I've come across. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 17 at 14:50
  • Okay, so 'aching' has no hyponyms in common English? – Nanashi No Gombe Jun 17 at 14:55
  • @NanashiNoGombe headache, stomachache, earache, toothache... – Dan Bron Jun 17 at 15:04
  • Giving hyponyms I think you intended: I've heard 'pulsating' for a side-effect of a bisphosphonate. And "My skin's crawling" when that applies. 'Burning' is hardly the same sensation. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 17 at 15:05
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    In addition to the good answers, I just want to point out that 'melagra' is very rare. No one uses it nowadays. – Mitch Jun 17 at 15:55

I would favor a compound that identifies the kind of thing being affected:

  • muscle pain or joint pain or back pain

  • aching muscles or aching joints or aching back

Expressions for pain tend to be fairly literal in English. A specific example is to feel it in (one's) bones, with it literally referring to a storm or another weather pattern. (See "Can You Really Feel a Storm Coming in Your Bones?") The feeling is a general ache that arthritis sufferers feel when the barometric pressure changes. In this case, the expression has spawned an idiom that more generally means intuition. Cambridge Dictionary:

feel it in your bones

to believe something strongly although you cannot explain why:

More generally, to capture the experience of great pain, especially over an entire body or area, racked with pain (or racked taking the part affected as the object) is a common expression. From the Oxford Learner's Dictionary:

(also less frequent wrack) [often passive] rack somebody/something to make somebody suffer great physical or mental pain

to be racked with/by guilt

Her face was racked with pain.

Violent sobs racked her whole body.

(British English) a racking cough

If someone is bedridden from pain or if their pain is particularly visible (periodic shuddering, groans, facial expressions), they may be racked with pain.

  • Thanks a lot. I was looking for a word that captures the sensation more elaborately, rather than the intensity of the pain. – Nanashi No Gombe Jun 17 at 15:18
  • "I feel it in my bones" literally refers to feeling an ache come on before a rain shower, but as an idiom it pertains more widely to intuitive knowledge, c.f. gut feelings. Is that more of what you're looking for? – TaliesinMerlin Jun 17 at 15:23
  • Yes, that's very close. I guess "My skin's crawling" is also close, if I understood that correctly. – Nanashi No Gombe Jun 17 at 15:26
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    @NanashiNoGombe "Skin is crawling" has a different connotation...it usually refers to a physiological reaction to something icky or scary. – Cascabel Jun 17 at 16:37

The feeling of pins and needles when your leg or arm has fallen asleep, and circulation is returning, might capture what you're looking for.

However, a whole-body pain of the sort you're describing is best captured by formication: "the sensation of having insects crawling on or under the skin."

  • “Formication”? And where have you ever heard anyone say that? Sure you don’t mean “fornication”? Too much of that can tire you out. – David Jun 17 at 19:36

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