There are 2 main definitions of sick in English:

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sick 1

Pronunciation: /sik/


1Affected by physical or mental illness: nursing very sick children we were sick with bronchitis (as plural noun the sick) visiting the sick and the elderly
More example sentences
  • Several staff members were already off sick with the flu.
  • Fifteen to twenty percent of the elderly who are sick with pneumococci die from this infection, so it is well worth preventing.
  • The end results were anything but pleasant for Niko who spent a week after the incident in the hospital ward sick with fever and poison from snakes bite.
ill, unwell, poorly, ailing, indisposed, not oneself;
informal laid up, under the weather
1.1Relating to those who are ill: the company organized a sick fund for its workers
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, the Guild will be holding it's annual door to door collection in the parish next month to help fund the sending of sick parishioners on the Pilgrimage.
  • ‘The bargaining council is once again at risk of collapsing, which would mean no more provident or sick fund for workers,’ he said.
  • She didn't fall for any of those phony ‘help-the-homeless’ funds that the sick hedonists kept trying to sell to dupes.
1.2(Of an organization, system, or society) suffering from serious problems, especially of a financial nature: their economy remains sick
More example sentences
  • Whatever the continuing vitality to be found in the villages, the larger political and economic systems are sick.
  • The recent events are nothing but reflections of a sick society where rampant corruption, political vendetta and laxity in criminal justice are the order of the day.
  • We live in a really sad and sick society and obviously ~ no one cares.
1.3 archaic Pining or longing for someone or something: he was sick for a sight of her
2 [predicative] Feeling nauseous and wanting to vomit: he was starting to feel sick Mark felt sick with fear
More example sentences
  • On the morning of October 17, 1999, Wei sent his wife to Renji Hospital, when Zhou became extremely sick and started vomiting.
  • She ran to her bathroom and vomited, relieving the sick sensation a bit, but not entirely.
  • Recalling his first trip in the air, Tu said he felt very sick and even vomited.
nauseous, nauseated, queasy, bilious, green around/at the gills;
seasick, carsick, airsick, travel-sick
informal about to throw up
2.1 [attributive] (Of an emotion) so intense as to cause one to feel unwell or nauseous: he had a sick fear of returning
More example sentences
  • A sick thrill of excitement travelled through his body.
  • The sick feeling returned to him again and he knew it would be setting up shop for quite awhile now.
  • A scared face looked back at her, and a lonely and sick emotion filled the eyes of that face.
2.2 informal Disappointed, mortified, or miserable: he looked pretty sick at that, but he eventually agreed
More example sentences
  • But just doing the best we can and that the owners, of course, are sick about it.
  • There is something inherently sick about seeking to profit from deceit.
  • To be honest, I feel so sick about the whole thing that even the memory of the try I scored does nothing to relieve the gloom.
disappointed, depressed, dejected, despondent, downcast, unhappy;
angry, cross, annoyed, displeased, disgruntled, fed up
3 [predicative] (sick of) Intensely annoyed with or bored by (someone or something) as a result of having had too much of them: I’m absolutely sick of your moods
fed up with, bored with, tired of, weary of
4 informal (Especially of humor) having something unpleasant such as death, illness, or misfortune as its subject and dealing with it in an offensive way: this was someone’s idea of a sick joke
More example sentences
  • Laughing at his own sick humour, Suarez ascended to the second level of the house, more designed to live in than the level below.
  • We're also unmistakably in David Cronenberg territory here, but without the sick humour that usually goes with it.
  • The sick charm of Keller is that he really does seem like a normal everyday person.
macabre, black, ghoulish, morbid, perverted, gruesome, sadistic, cruel
4.1(Of a person) having abnormal or unnatural tendencies; perverted: he is a deeply sick man from whom society needs to be protected
More example sentences
  • But if you use that as an excuse to inflict pain on them, then you are sick and sadistic and motivated solely by bigotry.
  • They are sick and depraved and have convinced themselves they are right and the rest of us are wrong.
  • Apparently, there were some bogus calls that were made in to try and - you know, for whatever reason, some sick people would do that.
5 informal Excellent: it was a sick party and there were tons of cool people there


British informal
Example sentences
  • So, while I cleaned cat sick off the carpet Paul headed off home to finish putting his kitchen back together now that the painting is finished.
  • The group are taken on a tour of Wimbledon tennis centre where they are made to wear all white and are force fed strawberries until they vomit red sick.
  • I arrived downstairs find to both cats outside and a pile of sick in the middle of the sitting room carpet.


[with object] (sick something up) British informal
Bring something up by vomiting.



be sick

1Be ill.
Example sentences
  • Though always busy with his work, Michael never forgot to enquire for friends who were sick, lonely or fell on hard times.
  • ‘Standard patients’ have some medical knowledge, enabling them to imitate real patients and allow medical students to diagnose them as if they really were sick.
  • Five workers in the office of Deputy Chief Minister, the second highest ranking official in the state, were being treated with antibiotics, and that none were sick.
Example sentences
  • It seems his father was sick with vomiting yesterday.
  • But I was sick and had to vomit several times, it would not stop.
  • He opened his mouth to announce that he was going to be sick, but the vomit rose through his throat before he could say the words.

fall (or take) sick

Become ill.
Example sentences
  • Those who fall sick or complain about unfair treatment risk getting deported.
  • Lucknow in January is not the best place to fall sick in.
  • Today, Britain is the last place in Europe that any man or woman would want to fall sick,’ he said.

get sick

1Become ill.
Example sentences
  • Yes, squirrels, like humans, get sick and can be infected by a variety of parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
  • People buy health insurance because they don't know whether they will get sick.
2North American Vomit.

make someone sick

Cause someone to vomit or feel nauseous or unwell: sherry makes me sick and so do cigars
More example sentences
  • It wasn't that he was afraid of blood, on the contrary, but too much blood, exposed organs, and raw flesh with that nauseous stench could already make him sick.
  • The smell made Eric sick, increasing the urge to vomit up his unfinished meal.
4.1Cause someone to feel intense annoyance or disgust: you’re so damned self-righteous you make me sick!
More example sentences
  • This is disgusting, makes me sick to my stomach.
  • It was making her sick and disgusted just looking at them.
  • She bit her lip and clenched her fists tightly, trying to chase away the memories and the sensations that made her sick with shame and disgust.

—— oneself sick

Do something to such an extent that one feels nauseous or unwell (often used for emphasis): she was worrying herself sick about Mike
More example sentences
  • It's possible to make yourself sick, or at least slightly nauseous by overdoing it though.
  • Don't tell me ladies that you don't know someone who's gone bankrupt in the last year or so - I know you do - and you worry yourself sick about them.
  • Some women make themselves sick trying to be ‘ladylike’.

sick and tired of

informal Annoyed about or bored with (someone or something) and unwilling to put up with them any longer: I am sick and tired of all the criticism
More example sentences
  • I'm sick and tired of people constantly chipping away at our most sacred institution.
  • I got sick and tired of people arguing about which kind of bird was called what.
  • I am sick and tired of being told what might and what might not happen.

(as) sick as a dog

informal Extremely ill.
Example sentences
  • I have been sick as a dog - still have the bronchitis going, but the worst part is an unbelievably sore throat - so bad that I literally cannot swallow, talk, etc.
  • What amazed me was he was sick as a dog, but if a school was coming the next day, he'd put on his suit and get out there.
  • I've spent the last week trying to do as little as possible, because I've been sick as a dog.

(as) sick as a parrot

British informal Extremely disappointed.
Example sentences
  • ‘I really am, as the old cliché goes, sick as a parrot because I really do think it was three points missed and at this stage of the season we need three points, nothing more, nothing less,’ he said.
  • It's a fair bet that the husband was sick as a parrot when he found out he had missed the first half of the season.
  • Dave, should have looked as sick as a parrot, but instead beamed a ghastly smile as he enthused about the prospect of Team GB entering a British Football Team into the 2012 Olympic Games.

the sick man of ——

A country that is politically or economically unsound, especially in comparison with its neighbors in the region specified: the country had been the sick man of Europe for too long
From a use of sick man, frequently applied in the late 19th century to the Sultan of Turkey, later extended to Turkey and other countries
More example sentences
  • Today, Europe again looks like the sick man of the global economy.
  • Many is the occasion that I have lauded the economy's transformation from the dire days of the 1970s, when Britain was the sick man of Europe.
  • If we are not careful, Britain will again be the sick man of Europe, and the progress of the last 20 years will be lost.

sick to death of

informal Annoyed about or bored with (someone or something) and unwilling to put up with them any longer: I am sick to death of being told that this is our fault

sick to one's stomach

Example sentences
  • My hands were wrapped around my stomach, for some reason I was sick to my stomach.
  • That feeling in her stomach was back and she felt weak and sick to her stomach.
  • Regular birth control pills make some women feel sick to their stomach.
Example sentences
  • It was disgusting and I felt sick to my stomach but I heard a pair of voices coming from inside.
  • I felt sick to my stomach, I was trembling with disgust.
  • This disgusted her and made her sick to her stomach.



Example sentences
  • I have to now face the fact that I, who am rarely sick, have been sickish for a week now, mostly with coughing phlegmy runny nose-and-eyes ick.
  • Because of ionization, the choking air filled with a sickish sweet ‘electric smell.’
  • Rising gradually to her feet, those sickish green eyes met the Captain's level, immediately locking on to those specks of electric blue.


Old English sēoc 'affected by illness', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ziek and German siech.

  • The Old English word sick was the usual way of referring to someone physically unwell before ill arrived in the Middle Ages, and is still normal use in the USA. A variety of animals have cropped up over the centuries in phrases emphasizing how ill someone is feeling. The first was the dog, back in the early 18th century. Other comparisons include the horse, the pig, and the cat, the latter well known for its problems with hairballs, and so common a comparison that ‘to cat’ was 19th-century schoolboy slang for ‘to vomit’. All these phrases refer to physical sickness, whereas being as sick as a parrot is a mental state, to do with feeling depressed. This goes back to the 1970s and is particularly associated with despondent footballers and managers being interviewed after a defeat. The phrase may have been suggested by the Dead Parrot sketch in the television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus. The opposite is over the moon see moon.

    Tsar Nicholas I of Russia reportedly said of the Sultan of Turkey in 1853: ‘I am not so eager about what shall be done when the sick man dies, as I am to determine with England what shall not be done upon that event taking place.’ His remarks reflected the precarious state of the Ottoman Empire and its slow but inevitable disintegration. Political commentators exploited this view and started to refer to Turkey as the sick man of Europe. The expression the sick man of— was applied to other countries over the following decades, and now often refers to factors other than economics or politics.

Words that rhyme with sick

artic, brick, chick, click, crick, flick, hand-pick, hic, hick, kick, lick, mick, miskick, nick, pic, pick, quick, rick, shtick, sic, slick, snick, stick, thick, tic, tick, trick, Vic, wick

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Syllabification: sick

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There are 2 main definitions of sick in English:

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sick 2

Pronunciation: /sik/


Variant of sic2.
Example sentences
  • Sparrow was so offended, he recalled, that ‘I nearly sicked my dog on him,’ but his mother intervened, establishing a selling price that was ‘high enough, so I wasn't mad at her.’
  • Sure some of the people would run after us with their guns or throw rocks or sick their dogs on us but it was fun.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sick

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