Posted by ESC on December 03, 2000
In Reply to: As sick as a parrot posted by Colin Ride on December 01, 2000
: Does anyone know the origin of this cliché?
I can't help on this one. All I found was "sick as a cat" (compared to the U.S. "sick as a dog") in "British English: A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur (Harper Perennial, New York, 1987). Sick as cats and dogs probably refers to them yacking up with regularity. "Sick as a parrot" sounds like a Monty Python thing, but everything British sounds like Monty Python to me. Maybe having a pet parrot brought from a foreign place was a craze at one point and the transplanted parrots tended to die.
Now that we're on the subject of "sick as," here's a phrase along those lines: "sicker than a fat dog." I heard that on an old movie, "Ride the High Country." Another from that movie, "kick the bitter hell out of me."