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Feed a cold and starve a fever

Posted by RRC on June 02, 2009 at 18:37

In Reply to: Feed a cold and starve a fever posted by ESC on June 02, 2009 at 16:58:

: : Coming from the North of England I was brought up to believe that the phrase "Feed a cold, starve a fever" was indeed a misquotation, but not quite as your explanation goes. We would say "feed a cold, starve of fever!" It sounds the same if you say it quickly. In other words, if you behave so as to make a cold worse, you may catch a fever and starve: starve can mean feel cold or shiver, as in the expression: "you look half-starved, lad" when someone comes in out of the cold. So I conclude that the saying has nothing to do with food or eating, just good advice. Any thoughts?

: To get the discussion ball rolling, here is what was posted previously. https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/6/messages/418.html

Hmmm... interesting. Everyone I've ever talked to thought it meant "If you have a cold, you should eat. If you have a fever, you shouldn't eat." If the fever ran out of fuel, it would break.
I've never heard this "If you eat while you have a cold, you'll get a fever and then starve." That seems easily disprovable. Is there some specific disease that works like that - you're sick with no fever, then you get a fever, then you starve?
I've also never heard "half-starved" to mean anything but skinny or hungry.