Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Sick" and "Sick"

“I’m so sorry you’re sick,” said the voice over the phone. Sick? Hmmm. I know I just had a hip-joint replacement but sick? Don’t think so. That sent me on a word search for “sick.” I found several definitions, a plethora of synonyms, multiple metaphors, and some usage differences between British English and American English. To take the last one first, in Canada I often heard, “She’s off sick.” In the USA I’m more likely to hear, “She’s out sick.”

A couple of the more common definitions for feeling sick are “nausea and vomiting” and “suffering from an illness or disease.” And then there are metaphors and expressions such as:
  • I’m so sick (identifying with your symptoms)
  • Call in sick (unable to go to work or school)
  • Sick and tired of your excuses (frustrated about something)
  • Sick at heart (sad, disappointed)
  • You make me sick (disgusted)
  • Sick with fear (terrified)
  • The cat’s been sick on the carpet (another mess to clean up)
  • I’m sick to death of waiting for you (worried, impatient)
  • Sick as a dog (desperately ill)
  • That is really sick (awful, inappropriate, unusual, impressive)
  • He fell sick (hope he didn't break anything in the process)
  • She took sick (stole another's illness)
  • You’ll make yourself sick if you eat any more (overeating pain)
  • That sick pervert is on the line again (inappropriate comments)
  • No more of your sick jokes! (unpleasant, cruel, strange)
 As I said, I’m recovering well from hip-joint replacement surgery. I am not sick!

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