Green around the gills
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British pronunciation/ɡɹˈiːn ɐɹˈaʊnd ɔːɹ ɐbˌaʊt ɔːɹ at ðə ɡˈɪlz/
American pronunciation/ɡɹˈiːn ɐɹˈaʊnd ɔːɹ ɐbˌaʊt ɔːɹ æt ðə ɡˈɪlz/
01

(of a person) feeling or looking nauseated, pale, or sickly

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green (around|about|at) the gills definition and meaning

What is the origin of the idiom "green around the gills" and when to use it?

The phrase "green around the gills" is an idiomatic expression that originated from sailors who would often get seasick during rough sea journeys. It dates back to the early 19th century, around the early 1800s, and describes the pale, greenish complexion that people can have when they feel nauseous or unwell. It is often used to describe someone who looks pale or sickly, particularly when they are experiencing nausea or feeling unwell. It implies a physical condition where someone appears visibly unwell or experiencing discomfort.

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Example
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After eating the questionable seafood, Tom started to feel nauseous and appeared green around the gills.
The strong smell of fish made Sarah feel green around the gills, and she had to step away from the seafood section of the market.
After the roller coaster ride, she looked a bit green about the gills.
Despite his efforts to hide it, John felt seasick on the boat and seemed green about the gills.
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Meaning of "Green (around|about|at) the gills"
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