coffee heart and brain fag

entrapta

Senior Member
Italian
In a series of intimidatory ads back in the XIX coffee was attacked as being a poisonous drug and then using pseudoscientific-vernacular words the admen talked about the hazars including "coffee neuralgia", "coffee heart" (which I guess is some kind of heart failure due to coffee consumption hence "mal di cuore da caffè"?) and "brain fag"...brain fag??? Thanks in advance to anyone who will contribute with his/her help.
 
  • pescara

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    I think "coffee heart" could refer to the fact that caffeine can accelerate your heartbeat. So, I don't think it refers to heart failure, just an accelerated heartbeat.

    I have no idea about "brain fag."

    Ciao.
     

    AlabamaBoy

    Senior Member
    American English
    Brain fag is a term no longer used commonly that meant mental exhaustion or overloaded brain.

    By the way, we don't say back in the XIX, we say back in the 20th century. Also, I would probably say "intimidating" instead intimidatory.
     
    Last edited:

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    From the Oxford English Dictionary; fag:
    1. That which causes weariness; hard work, toil, drudgery, fatigue. colloq
    .I personally believe it might be a colloquial abbreviation of fatigue (hence the highlight in blue - which is mine). The OED does not support this possibility, however.

    "fag" is still used in BE in this general sense, both as a verb and as a noun (although it may sound slightly old-fashioned nowadays). Examples:


    • I suppose I ought to have helped him do the gardening, but it was such a fag [boring, arduous task] that I couldn't be bothered.
    • I suppose I ought to have helped him do the gardening, but I just couldn't be fagged [couldn't be bothered].
     

    entrapta

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I knew that Alabama ;) thanks for showing my mistakes, I won't do that again! By the way "fag" also means cigarette in BE right? It's probably the abbreviation of faggot (which is also the vulgar way to address a gay male...what a confusion!)
     

    AlabamaBoy

    Senior Member
    American English
    I figured you probably knew that, I wanted to point it out lest some future reader of this thread start using the word in the USA. :D This poor future forero might get worse than strange looks!
     

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Another of those words which shows how Britain and America are "divided by a common language" :) - although I guess most BE speakers would be aware of this (male homosexual) meaning from American cultural imports (TV, books etc).

    It may even have contributed to the decline of the other meaning.
     
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