"Under the weather" is an idiom commonly used to express that someone is feeling ill or not at their best. This phrase is frequently used in everyday conversation, illustrating a temporary state of health, be it physical or emotional.
"Under the weather" is a phrase used to denote a state of feeling unwell or less than optimal.
The idiom "under the weather" often suggests that someone is feeling somewhat ill or not in their best condition. It usually implies a mild state of illness, like a cold or minor stomach upset, rather than severe sickness. However, this phrase can also extend to general feelings of malaise or discomfort, both physically and emotionally.
Let's unpack its core meanings:
"Under the weather" originated from the maritime term "under the weather bow," referring to feeling queasy on the ship side exposed to rough weather. The term first appeared on land in Donald Grant Mitchell's book, Fudge Doings (1855), describing a character's unpleasant experience on a steamer. The character's lack of appetite and enjoyment revealed he was "a little under the weather." As time passed, the expression broadened to cover diverse discomforts, such as a bad day at work, failed romance, or any stressful situation.
"As I have been under the weather, we have not yet had our grand talk with the Moquis, but I hope will have it tomorrow."
- Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, 1854
Here are some examples of the idiom in use:
The phrase "under the weather" is regularly used in pop culture, representing a state of ill health or a low mood.
Let's look at some instances:
There are various other expressions that convey a similar meaning to "under the weather."
Here are some of them:
The phrase "under the weather" is used to describe a state of feeling unwell or not at one's best, usually due to minor illness or emotional distress.
You can use "under the weather" to express feeling unwell. For instance, "I decided to stay home today because I'm feeling a bit under the weather."
The phrase "under the weather" is believed to have originated from nautical terminology, referring to a seasick sailor sent below deck to avoid bad weather.
No, typically "under the weather" refers to mild illness or temporary discomfort, not severe or chronic sickness.
Yes, in addition to physical illness, "under the weather" can be used to describe feeling emotionally low or stressed.
"Under the weather" is a colloquial expression, but it is widely used in both informal and formal settings.
Yes, it is acceptable to use "under the weather" in a professional context when explaining a mild illness or a day off.
No, "under the weather" can also refer to mental or emotional states, such as feeling low, stressed, or overwhelmed.
Yes, you can use "under the weather" to describe someone else's state of health or mood. For example, "John seems a bit under the weather today."
While the specific phrase "under the weather" is English, many languages have idioms to express the concept of feeling unwell or not up to par.
The phrase "under the weather" effectively captures the common experience of feeling slightly unwell, whether due to physical illness or an emotional low. It serves as a gentle and non-specific way to express discomfort without going into detail, making it a versatile phrase in everyday language.
Here's a quick recap:
It is a universally understood expression that adds color and humanity to the language. Even when we're feeling a bit under the weather, language allows us to express and share our human experience.