Nauseate and nauseous

modgirl

Senior Member
USA English
I thought I'd pass along something that I'm not too abashed to say that I learned only recently.

I just kind of assumed that the words nauseate and nauseous were synonymous. Wrong!

To be nauseated means that one feels sick. E.g. I missed work today because I felt nauseated.

If something is nauseous, it causes others to become nauseated (ill). E.g. The detective had to turn his head away from the nauseous crime scene.

Or another way: She felt nauseated from the stench of nauseous cigarettes.

So, the next time someone says I'm nauseous, you could say, "Oh no, you don't look that bad at all!"

<< Moderator note.
This thread used to contain a discussion about envy and jealousy. As that is important in its own right, and not exactly related to the topic of this thread, the posts have been moved to Envy (envious) and jealousy (jealous)
panjandrum >>

 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    I have heard this before and still use it incorrectly. This is one of the most common mistakes in english, I bet.
     

    Tobycek

    Senior Member
    England, English
    You can avoid confusion by using the adjective "nauseating".
    This means "inducing nausea in other people".

    e.g.
    The Backstreet Boys really were the one of the most nauseating groups ever.

    hee hee
     

    jaNelle

    Member
    English
    i never really use the words nauseous and nauseated i just say i stayed home because i was throwing up and when i saw that i wanted to throw up. and the backstreet boys make me want to throw up.
     

    Nywoe

    Senior Member
    Canada: English and French
    I have never heard of this rule, and turns out that it is not correct:

    Main Entry: nau·seous
    Pronunciation: 'no-sh&s, 'no-zE-&s
    Function: adjective
    1 : causing nausea or disgust : NAUSEATING
    2 : affected with nausea or disgust
    - nau·seous·ly adverb
    - nau·seous·ness noun
    usage Those who insist that nauseous can properly be used only in sense 1 and that in sense 2 it is an error for nauseated are mistaken. Current evidence shows these facts: nauseous is most frequently used to mean physically affected with nausea, usually after a linking verb such as feel or become; figurative use is quite a bit less frequent. Use of nauseous in sense 1 is much more often figurative than literal, and this use appears to be losing ground to nauseating. Nauseated is used more widely than nauseous in sense 2.

    (source Merriam-Webster online)

    My guess is that the rule that you are discussing was correct once upon a time, but it has been misused for so long that the meaning has been changed!! (not the first time such a change has happened in the English language)

    N.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English
    My source is the book Woe is I by Patricia O'Conner, copyright June 2004!

    This is a situation not of grammar but of usage. And what's very sad is that so many people didn't use the accepted, correct forms of the words, and so now anything goes! From your text: nauseous is most frequently used.....

    If we all started saying, "Me and you was running yesterday," then it would definitely still be bad grammar but the usage would be acceptable.

    In other words, we're dumbing down our language. The words jealous and envy used to be quite different. Now, they're essentially synonyms. And all because we aren't smart enough to learn how to use words.
     

    Nywoe

    Senior Member
    Canada: English and French
    I do not believe that we are "dumbing down" the language, but rather that it is simply evolution of the language. It will take an incredibly long time before "Me and you was running" will become correct. The goal of language is communication. It does not matter what a certain word meant 20,30,40 years ago. What does matter is its meaning now, and that this meaning is known in order to permit a person to share his/her thought. Even if there are still people who hold to old meanings (for who's benefit, I do not know), they will understand what "I feel nauseous" means; the thought/feeling will be understood.

    But this is just my view on it.....

    N.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    modgirl said:
    ....This is a situation not of grammar but of usage. And what's very sad is that so many people didn't use the accepted, correct forms of the words, and so now anything goes! From your text: nauseous is most frequently used.....

    If we all started saying, "Me and you was running yesterday," then it would definitely still be bad grammar but the usage would be acceptable.

    In other words, we're dumbing down our language. The words jealous and envy used to be quite different. Now, they're essentially synonyms. And all because we aren't smart enough to learn how to use words.
    Interesting question. Maybe I should take it over to Cultural Issues. I have been debating it with my parents since I was little. If I knocked on the door and they asked who it was, I would always say, "It's me." They were sticklers for rules of all kinds, and grammar almost above all, and never failed to correct me. "It is I." My argument was that usage had created an idiomatic expression of "It's me," and besides (I would persist)... who cares? Isn't today's usage as valid a reason to accept what is said as yesterday's rules. Why can science, math, medicine, physical attributes of humans, and all other things evolve and not the rules of grammar. If they change, who is to say that it is a "dumbing down?" I admit, though, that I do regret losing the nuances that separate some words like your excellent example of "jealous v. envy."

    Today I am less sure of where I stand on this than I was as a headstrong kid, but still unsure. Communication can often be so difficult, it sometimes seems the insistence to do it by rules, especially those of another age, is getting in the way. And I love language and grammar, so I'm curious if anyone else in a language-focused forum sees 2 sides to it as I do.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    modgirl said:
    No. An easy way to think of it is that one is jealous of what he has and envious of what he doesn't have. I'll explain.

    If you're jealous, you're very careful in guarding what you have or you are resentfully suspicious of a rival.

    E.g. Let's say you have a very beautiful wife. Every time you go out, men just drool all over her. You love her and don't want anyone else to flirt with her, so it could be said that you are a jealous husband. Suppose a male friend of hers just wanted to take her to dinner. She might decline, stating, "I'm sorry, but Ralf is a bit jealous, so I really can't go out alone without him." You aren't envious of anyone, but you are jealous and want to protect what you have.

    Although jealousy is often used with regards to romances or possessions, it can also be used in this sense, "I am jealous of my constitutional rights. I want to keep what I have and don't want anyone else to take them away from me!

    If you're envious, you are unhappy or resentful because of what someone else has. Let's say you are a very hard worker, but you can never seem to make enough money to really do what you want in life. But your neighbor was born into a rich family. He doesn't work much, takes lots of vacations, and seems to have an endless supply of money to do whatever he wants. You might be envious because of what he has -- you're the hard worker. But he seems rather lazy and is receiving what you deserve!

    To reiterate, you're jealous of what you have. You're envious of what you don't have!

    However, since so many people use the word jealous when the word that really should be used is envious, one of the "new" (I say sarcastically) definitions of jealousy is envy. Sigh.....

    Excellent explanation! :thumbsup: Perhaps to corroborate, in the Bible God says "I am a jealous God." But then "envy" is one of the seven deadly sins in the Catholic church! Certainly God would not be condoning such a condemnable sin! What God means is that (as you said) He wants to maintain His own people, and not lose them to other gods. Therefore, He is jealous.

    As for the "nauseated/nauseous" debate, I personally don't care how popular the incorrect usage becomes; it is still incorrect to me. And while I wouldn't come down on everybody who uses it in everyday speech, I would definitely not use it in writing and point it out to anybody who does. A similar scenario is happening with "comprise/compose," quite possibly my worst pet-peeve in the English language! "Comprise" means "to include" while "compose" means "to make the parts of." Nevertheless, so many people are saying things like "The team is comprised [instead of composed] of five members" (personally, I think they just want to sound more educated) that it usage to mean "compose" is becoming more and more tolerated. In fact, here's a poignant example that illustrates how out of hand the situation is getting. I was looking through a GRE preparation book, and one of the vocabulary words listed was "comprise," with the correct definition, "to include, to contain." However, in at least two incidents in the book, the word was used incorrectly! ("The GRE will be comprised of...," for example)! I'm thinking of writing to the makers of the book to point out the utter lunacy of that.

    Moral of the story? Saying "The team is comprised of five members" is incorrect, no matter how many people start using it.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English
    lsp said:
    Communication can often be so difficult, it sometimes seems the insistence to do it by rules, especially those of another age, is getting in the way. And I love language and grammar, so I'm curious if anyone else in a language-focused forum sees 2 sides to it as I do.

    Actually, I think we're on the same page. But there are two issues: evolution of a language and the dumbing down of a language.

    Take the word "gay." That word meant something completely different from what it does today! In the 1930s, a gay, young man was simply a lighthearted and happy guy, and that's it. Most men wouldn't mind being described that way. However, in today's language, gay is used almost exclusively to mean a male homosexual. Very different from a few decades ago! That isn't a dumbing down of a word.

    However, since jealousy and envy are somewhat similar, it's easy to mix them up. And interchanging their meaning because one doesn't know which to use is quite different from taking on a new meaning, as in the word gay.

    Take the words imply and infer. People mix them up all the time. To imply is to give information. To infer is to receive information.

    E.g. John says, "My birthday is next week. Oh, and by the way, just so you'll know, tickets to my favorite band's concert go on sale in two days." John is implying that he would like concert tickets as a birthday present.

    E.g. A window is broken. Next to it is a baseball bat. Most of us will probably infer that the baseball bat is responsible for the broken window.

    Another way to think of it is that infer is to interpret information.

    But since imply and infer are both similar in that they deal with the meaning behind certain information, I don't see how interchanging one for another is evolution simply because you don't know the meaning.

    In the case of "it's me," blame Shakespeare. Oh, woe is me! ;) (Actually, I kind of like "it's me." It has a comfortable ring.)
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    modgirl said:
    Actually, I think we're on the same page. But there are two issues: evolution of a language and the dumbing down of a language.

    Take the word "gay." That word meant something completely different from what it does today! In the 1930s, a gay, young man was simply a lighthearted and happy guy, and that's it. Most men wouldn't mind being described that way. However, in today's language, gay is used almost exclusively to mean a male homosexual. Very different from a few decades ago! That isn't a dumbing down of a word.

    However, since jealousy and envy are somewhat similar, it's easy to mix them up. And interchanging their meaning because one doesn't know which to use is quite different from taking on a new meaning, as in the word gay.

    Take the words imply and infer. People mix them up all the time. To imply is to give information. To infer is to receive information.

    E.g. John says, "My birthday is next week. Oh, and by the way, just so you'll know, tickets to my favorite band's concert go on sale in two days." John is implying that he would like concert tickets as a birthday present.

    E.g. A window is broken. Next to it is a baseball bat. Most of us will probably infer that the baseball bat is responsible for the broken window.

    Another way to think of it is that infer is to interpret information.

    But since imply and infer are both similar in that they deal with the meaning behind certain information, I don't see how interchanging one for another is evolution simply because you don't know the meaning.

    In the case of "it's me," blame Shakespeare. Oh, woe is me! ;) (Actually, I kind of like "it's me." It has a comfortable ring.)

    That's exactly right! :thumbsup: Wow, you amaze me with the thoroughness and clarity with which you respond to these issues. I personally wanted to address the evolution/"dumbing down" issue as well, because it just felt that these mistakes did not have to do simply with evolution, but I didn't think of a way to put it. But I agree with you wholeheartedly, and that's exactly the case with "comprise" and "compose," which both deal with parts making up something. Great explanation! (although I still shy at using "gay" to mean homosexual in writing...)
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English
    elroy said:
    Perhaps to corroborate, in the Bible God says "I am a jealous God." But then "envy" is one of the seven deadly sins in the Catholic church! Certainly God would not be condoning such a condemnable sin! What God means is that (as you said) He wants to maintain His own people, and not lose them to other gods. Therefore, He is jealous.

    That is a perfect example!

    Oh, and thank you for the reminders of comprise and compose. They should be comprised on the same list as jealous/envy and imply/infer. ;)
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    modgirl said:
    That is a perfect example!

    Oh, and thank you for the reminders of comprise and compose. They should be comprised on the same list as jealous/envy and imply/infer. ;)

    Haha, yes I was implying that by bringing them up. I am jealous about the English language and want it to comprise as small a number of malapropisms as possible! :cool:
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English
    elroy said:
    That's exactly right! :thumbsup: Wow, you amaze me with the thoroughness and clarity with which you respond to these issues.

    Elroy, you are very sweet. Thank you! Now, if others only thought like you do.....

    Speaking about the word gay, there's also an expression which is relatively new. Coming out of the closet is a phrase that means not hiding one's sexuality or sexual preferences. However, that phrase is now often shortened to just coming out. And sometimes, it takes a moment to catch on! I received a letter the other day which said, "John didn't come out until after his mother died." At first, I didn't know what it meant because I didn't know that the person was gay, but then I realized it meant that he didn't openly admit to anyone that he is gay until after his mother died.
     

    Tabac

    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    modgirl said:
    So, the next time someone says I'm nauseous, you could say, "Oh no, you don't look that bad at all!"

    Students often asked if they could go to the nurse because they "were nauseous". I replied that the nurse couldn't do a thing for them (unless, of course I thought they looked somewhat 'nauseated'.
     
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