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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English sik, sike, seek, seke, seok, from Old English sēoc (sick; ill), from Proto-Germanic *seukaz (compare West Frisian siik, Dutch ziek, German siech, Norwegian Bokmål syk, Norwegian Nynorsk sjuk), from Proto-Indo-European *sewg- (to be troubled or grieved); compare Middle Irish socht (silence, depression), Old Armenian հիւծանիմ (hiwcanim, I am weakening).


sick (comparative sicker, superlative sickest)

  1. Having an urge to vomit.
    Synonym: nauseated
  2. (chiefly US) In poor health.
    • a1420, The British Museum Additional MS, 12,056, “Wounds complicated by the Dislocation of a Bone”, in Robert von Fleischhacker, editor, Lanfranc's "Science of cirurgie."[1], London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co, translation of original by Lanfranc of Milan, published 1894, →ISBN, page 63:
      Ne take noon hede to brynge togidere þe parties of þe boon þat is to-broken or dislocate, til viij. daies ben goon in þe wyntir, & v. in þe somer; for þanne it schal make quytture, and be sikir from swellynge; & þanne brynge togidere þe brynkis eiþer þe disiuncture after þe techynge þat schal be seid in þe chapitle of algebra.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess[2]:
      ‘Children crawled over each other like little grey worms in the gutters,’ he said. ‘The only red things about them were their buttocks and they were raw. Their faces looked as if snails had slimed on them and their mothers were like great sick beasts whose byres had never been cleared. […]’
    She was sick all day with the flu.
    Synonyms: ill, not well, poorly, sickly, unwell
    Antonyms: fit, healthy, well
  3. (colloquial) Mentally unstable, disturbed.
    Synonyms: disturbed, twisted, warped
  4. (colloquial) In bad taste.
    That's a sick joke.
  5. Tired of or annoyed by something.
    I've heard that song on the radio so many times that I'm starting to get sick of it.
  6. (slang) Very good, excellent, awesome, badass.
    This tune is sick.
    Dude, this car's got a sick subwoofer!
    Synonyms: rad, wicked
    Antonyms: crap, naff, uncool
  7. In poor condition.
    sick building syndrome; my car is looking pretty sick; my job prospects are pretty sick
  8. (agriculture) Failing to sustain adequate harvests of crop, usually specified.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Navajo: sxih


sick (uncountable)

  1. Sick people in general as a group.
    We have to cure the sick.
  2. (Britain, Australia, colloquial) vomit.
    He lay there in a pool of his own sick.
    • 2010, McSween et al., Things Bogans Like, Sydney: Hachette, page 80:
      The bogan, true to form, laps it up like a dog does its own sick.


sick (third-person singular simple present sicks, present participle sicking, simple past and past participle sicked)

  1. To vomit.
    I woke up at 4 am and sicked on the floor.
  2. (obsolete, intransitive) To fall sick; to sicken.
    • circa 1598, William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, part 2:
      Our great-grandsire, Edward, sick'd and died.

Etymology 2[edit]


sick (third-person singular simple present sicks, present participle sicking, simple past and past participle sicked)

  1. (rare) Alternative spelling of sic
    • 1920, James Oliver Curwood, "Back to God's Country"
      "Wapi," she almost screamed, "go back! Sick 'em, Wapi—sick 'em—sick 'em—sick 'em!"
    • 1938, Eugene Gay-Tifft, translator, The Saga of Frank Dover by Johannes Buchholtz, 2005 Kessinger Publishing edition, →ISBN, page 125,
      When we were at work swabbing the deck, necessarily barelegged, Pelle would sick the dog on us; and it was an endless source of pleasure to him when the dog succeeded in fastening its teeth in our legs and making the blood run down our ankles.
    • 1957, J. D. Salinger, "Zooey", in, 1961, Franny and Zooey, 1991 LB Books edition, page 154,
      " just something God sicks on people who have the gall to accuse Him of having created an ugly world."
    • 2001 (publication date), Anna Heilman, Never Far Away: The Auschwitz Chronicles of Anna Heilman, University of Calgary Press, →ISBN, page 82,
      Now they find a new entertainment: they sick the dog on us.