half sick

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benjaminbosquier

Senior Member
français - France
Hello! Do you think that in "half sick" the word "sick" means "ill", "unwell" or "nauseous" in the following passage of the great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, chapter 8:

I couldn’t sleep all night; a fog-horn was groaning incessantly on the Sound, and I tossed half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams.

Thank you
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, benjaminbosquier. It's been quite a while since I last read "The Great Gatsby", so a little more context would be helpful for determining exactly what Fitzgerald meant by "half-sick".

    Tell me a little about the character who is making this remark. Has this character been drinking? If so, "half-sick" could mean something like "nauseous". If not, the character may be referring to nothing more than his uneasy sleep, which bounces back and forth between "grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The most well-known use of "half-sick" is in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, "The Lady of Shalott": (The Lady of Shallott is cursed; she can only see the world reflected in her mirror in her room)
    But in her web she still delightsTo weave the mirror's magic sights,
    ...
    I am half sick of shadows,' said
    The Lady of Shalott.
    Here, it means fed up; irritated; discontented; impatient; etc.
     
    Last edited:

    benjaminbosquier

    Senior Member
    français - France
    This quote is interesting; when you say: "Here, it means fed up; irritated; discontented; impatient", it refers to Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, I suppose.
     
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