Monday, December 6, 2010

A *cough* Update

Our Meg is sick as a dog at the moment...

Just a few days ago, we had our first decent conversation (i.e. four hours on the phone) in a long while. She was stuck at home, tied to some blankets and a rather comforting box of tissues - or so was my impression. 

So why she's on her way to recovery I thought I'd entertain y'all with a brief entomology and a question of the phrase "as sick as a dog." 

According to some authors, the phrase as sick as a dog was heard as early as 1705. It is quite possible that it was the invention of a phrase with no relevant meaning (unlike "the whole nine yards")... similar to the idea of being starstruck. Personally, this brings up the question how in the world can you be starstruck?... unless you're the unlucky chap who gets walloped by a chunk of molten rock from the skies. Others muse that the colloquialism came from either A. man's frequency around the animal led to the observation of how often it regurgitated or B. the negative linguistic connotation of "dog" (e.g. dog in the manger, dog tired, go to the dogs, etc.)

Apparently, American English has only version of the phrase while British English has numerous. "Sick as a... cat/horse/parrot" has been used over the years. The most interesting version of the phrase was used in 1731 by writer Johnathan Swift, "Poor Miss, she's sick as a cushion, she wants nothing but stuffing."

So my dear chickadees, here are my questions: how do you think the phrase originated? Can you think of any other colloquialism that you use constantly with no idea of the original entomology?


AlexAndrea said...

Proverbs 26:11 (NIV)

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.

I hope you're feeling better. Comments always cheer me up.