What Is the Origin of the Saying “Sick as a Dog”?The term “sick as a dog” means to feel ill to the point of vomiting.
Examples of Use:
The term “sick as a dog” originates from the 1700s, when dogs typically lived outside in poor conditions, causing them to be far mangier, dirtier, and sicker than todays well-groomed show-pieces. Peoples attitudes towards dogs back then is well captured in the following sayings from the same era:
In other words, “as sick as a dog” was a
— It must be food poisoning. Everyone who ate the beef last night is sick as a dog.
— When my father caught me with a cigarette, he made me smoke the entire pack. I was sick as a dog and Ive never touched a cigarette again.
— I decided to get the flu shot this year because last year I was sick as a dog.
— Everyone was buying me shots at the bar last night and now Im hungover and sick as a dog.
— Ill never go on a cruise again. We were all sick as a dog for two days when we ran into a huge storm.
OriginDog was considered an undesirable animal in the 17th century. So much so that there are a lot of phrases which refer to them negatively [tired as a dog, dog in the manger, down to the dogs, dog’s breakfast, dirty dog, etc.]. Sick as dog refers to being so sick that one may feel like vomiting. The first literary use of the expression is in 1705. The phrase still reflects in a negative sense as it was intended back then.