sick as a dog

A - S

as sick as a dog


  • refers to extreme physical illness or discomfort.
  • indicates feeling very unwell or nauseous.
  • conveys a sense of being extremely ill or weak.
  • implies feeling physically wretched or miserable.
  • also refers to being in a state that is very unpleasant.

Example Sentences

  1. After eating that questionable seafood, he spent the entire night vomiting and feeling as sick as a dog.
  2. She caught the flu and was laid up in bed, feeling as sick as a dog for nearly a week.
  3. No one likes being as sick as a dog; that is why it is important to take care of oneself regularly and eat in moderation.
  4. After catching the flu, I felt as sick as a dog and could barely get out of bed for days.
  5. He came back from the camping trip with a stomach bug and looked as sick as a dog, pale and exhausted.

Origin and History

In the 17th and 18th centuries, dogs lived in poor conditions and looked sickly, leading to negative phrases like “sick as a dog.” People saw dogs as carriers of disease, especially during outbreaks like the plague, which created a lot of negative expressions about them, such as “tired as a dog,” “dirty dog,” “dog in the manger,” “down to the dogs,” and more. “Sick as a dog” started in 1705 to describe extreme sickness like nausea, reflecting the bad reputation of dogs during that time. Similar phrases, like “sick as a horse” and “sick as a cat,” emerged later. Despite horses not being able to vomit, they were still used in such expressions. Jonathan Swift even came up with “sick as a cushion” in 1731. “Sick as a parrot,” a newer phrase from the 1970s, describes deep mental depression, possibly linked to diseases transmitted from parrots to humans.

Earliest printed record of the phrase we can find dates back to 1746 in “A Collection of Political and Humorous Letters, Poems, and Articles of News, Published in an Evening Paper, Intitled, The National Journal, Or, Country Gazette.” Which Began to be Published on Saturday, March 22d, 1746.

“I will certainly do my endeavour to be taken suddenly ill the next Job that comes upon the Tapis; I will be as Sick as a Dog.”

Synonyms and Variants

  • sick as a parrot.
  • sick as a horse (when one is sick without the sensation of vomiting).
  • sick as a cat.

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