Tuesday 21 August 2007

What does " as sick as a Dog" mean?


While meandering around Trish's "blog" I saw the "sick as a dog" saying and wondered where it originated. Went hunting, and found virtually nothing. It would appear as though this "saying" was first documented in the 1700's, and no reasons given. The meaning is that one is very very sick. The limited reference is that all negative sayings are attributed to dogs, like Dogs life, dog tired, Dogs breakfast etc etc. So...no proper answer. Anyone knows more, please leave a comment.
While rambling around I found this one " “Poor Miss, she’s sick as a Cushion, she wants nothing but stuffing”(Jonathan Swift 1731). Any comments on what this is supposed to mean?

9 comments:

Carol said...

All I could find was this:
sick as a dog
Very ill, especially from a stomach malady. For example, I don't know what was in that stew but I was sick as a dog all night. This simile was first recorded in 1705. Why a dog should be viewed as particularly sick remains unclear.
http://www.answers.com/topic/sick-as-a-dog

Jos said...

Thought I should help you, so I went after the Dutch expression (Zo ziek als een hond).
Maybe this is the answer:
http://id.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zo_ziek_als_een_hond_zijn&action=edit
If you can read indonesian, that is... I have no idea.

Trish said...

Aww.. you meandered at my blog? How sweet! :) I think it has something to do with dogs and how sick they get.. beyond that.. couldn't tell ya. I know. Not much help, am I? :)

gusgreeper said...

pretty interesting i was thinking about this last night as i am sick as a dog right now and was wondering the same thing for a blog post cause i haven't posted since monday.
i also haven't found much...cept similar to you.

Clumsily_Gorjess Nikita said...

i found this on another website:

If you've ever been very sick, you may have used this expression. Because dogs eat just about anything they find, they often get sick. So it's fitting to describe someone who is not feeling well as being "sick as a dog." Arf!

www.kidshealth.org/kid/talk/come_from/sick_as_dog.html

hope that helped!!!

Anonymous said...

Basically in those times pets werent exactly treated as well as they are now, and about 90% of dogs were stray mutts anyway. so any old expression dealing with a dog is generally a bad thing and if you saw a dog in those days it probably looked like a homeless person and was laying in a disgusting allyway in its own filth so sickness, dirtyness, etc. were all associated with dogs. plus, the phrase carried out from the sensativity of a dog's digestive system considering there are so many things that humans can eat like nothing but will kill a dog.

Greg said...

I don't have a factual basis for this but when I was kid I was a groom for people that showed dogs. I remember hearing one person say the root of the term came from the fact that dogs were always fed food that what was believed to be unsuitable for human consumption, leading to frequent bellyaches.

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