Posted by ESC on February 10, 2004
In Reply to: Feeling under the weather posted by Scott Cressey on February 09, 2004
: What is the origin of the phrase, "I'm feeling under the weather" to imply that one is feeling sick?
Previous discussion from the archives:
UNDER THE WEATHER - "Ik Marvel, a pseudonym that resulted from a misprinting of J.K. Marvel, was the pen name of American author Donald Grant Mitchell. In his 'Reveries of a Bachelor' Ik Marvel is the first to record 'under the weather,' which has been a synonym for everything from 'ill and indisposed' to 'financially embarrassed' and 'drunk,' and has even been a synonym for 'the discomfort accompanying menstruation." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
: To be under the weather is to be unwell. This comes again from a maritime source. In the old days, when a sailor was unwell, he was sent down below to help his recovery, under the deck and away from the weather.
You're right, that explanation sounds better. Here's a similar one I found: "Under the weather. To feel ill. Originally it meant to feel seasick or to be adversely affected by bad weather. The term is correctly 'under the weather bow' which is a gloomy prospect; the weather bow is the side upon which all the rotten weather is blowing." From "Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions" by Bill Beavis and Richard G. McCloskey (Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1995. First published in Great Britain, 1983).