Posted by Gary Martin on July 30, 2006
In Reply to: Sick as a parrot posted by Tommy C R on July 30, 2006
: Re sick as a parrot question by Colin Ride Dec 1st 2000. According to www.worldwidewords.org the phrase originated by britsh sportman in the 1970's, presumably when they lost whatever sport they participating in. The website also suggests that psittacosis a disease cause by bacteria Chlamydia psittaci, which affects parrots, but can be caught by humans by breathing in the germs, might have been the origin of the phrase. It has similar symtoms as pneumonia.
The phrase was probably invented by a staff writer on Private Eye, which is where the first known printed reference is found. It was frequently used there in the Colemanballs and Ron Manager pieces and was taken up by footballers and the like later.