Wednesday, November 17, 2021

From "under the weather" to Emily Dickinson

I have a slight cold; I'm "under the weather." But this cold, cloudy day made me think I'm "under the weather" mentally – tired, a bit down. My pun made me wonder about the history of the expression. While other sources speculate about the presumed effect of the weather on health, the OED offers no etymology at all, but does say it's an American idiom from the early 1800s. The Corpus of Historical American English led me to an 1860 story by Josiah Gilbert Holland, "Miss Gilbert's Career", in which a character who's "under the weather" has "got the pip" – he's depressed. But it cheers me that Holland corresponded with Emily Dickinson. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 17 November 2021)

No comments: