Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: seoc

sick

1 adjective
     
sick1 S1 W3
1

ill

especially American English suffering from a disease or illness:
His mother's very sick.
Maria can't come in today because she's sick.
a sick child
a sick animal
sick with
I have been sick with flu.
get sick (=become ill) American English
At the last minute I got sick and couldn't go.
be off sick British English ; be out sick American English (=be away from work or school because you are ill)
Two of his employees were out sick.
I was off sick for four days with the flu.
phone/ring/call in sick (=phone to say you are not coming to work because you are ill)
He was upset because it was the first day of the sale and Astrid had called in sick.
What will happen to the business if you fall sick (=become ill) or die?
He took sick (=became ill) and died a week later.
Pete's at home in bed, sick as a dog (=very sick).
2

be sick

if you are sick, the food in your stomach comes up through your mouth [= vomit, throw up]:
I think I'm going to be sick.
He dashed to the bathroom and was sick again.
The cat's been sick on the carpet.
You'll be sick if you eat any more of that chocolate!
I was violently sick (=suddenly and severely sick) the last time I ate prawns.
3

feel sick

also be/feel sick to your stomach American English to feel as if you are going to vomit:
As soon as the ship started moving I began to feel sick.
feel sick with
Mary felt sick with fear.
She began to shiver, feeling sick to her stomach.
Virginia had a sick feeling in her stomach.
carsick, seasick

; ➔ travel-sick

at travel sickness
4

make me/you sick

spoken
a) to make you feel very angry:
People like you make me sick!
b) spoken to make someone feel jealous - used humorously:
You make me sick with your 'expenses paid' holidays!
5

make somebody/yourself sick

British English
a) if something makes you sick, it makes you bring food up from your stomach through your mouth:
The smell of blood made him sick.
b) if you make yourself sick, you do something to bring food up from your stomach through your mouth:
I've never been able to make myself sick.
You'll make yourself sick if you eat any more!
6

be sick (and tired) of (doing) something

also be sick to death of something spoken to be angry or bored with something that has been happening for a long time:
I'm sick and tired of your excuses.
I am sick of working for other people.
7

be worried sick/be sick with worry

to be extremely worried:
Why didn't you tell me you were coming home late? I've been worried sick!
8

strange/cruel

a) someone who is sick does things that are strange and cruel, and seems mentally ill:
I keep getting obscene phone calls from some sick pervert.
You're sick!
b) sick stories, jokes etc deal with death and suffering in a cruel or unpleasant way:
I don't want to hear any of your sick jokes, thank you.
That's really sick!
9

sick at heart

literary very unhappy, upset, or disappointed about something:
I was sick at heart to think that I would never see the place again.
10

sick as a parrot

British English spoken extremely disappointed - used humorously
11 [not before noun] British English spoken used by young people to say that something is very impressive and they admire it a lot
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

sick, throw up, vomit, ill, not well, unwell
In British English, sick is usually used in the expressions be sick (=have the food in your stomach come up through your mouth) and feel sick (=feel as if this is going to happen) Someone had been sick on the floor. Stop it, I feel sick! In American English, you say that someone throws up. Throw up is also used in British English but is fairly informal.Vomit is a fairly formal way to say 'throw up'. If someone has an illness or disease, you usually say that they are ill in British English, and sick in American English He missed a lot of school when he was ill (BrE)/sick (AmE). In American English, ill suggests you have a more serious disease, from which you may not recover. If someone is slightly ill, you often say in British English that they are not well I won't come out - I'm not very well.Unwell is a more formal word for 'ill' or 'sick'.
WORD FOCUS: bad WORD FOCUS: bad
very bad: awful, terrible, horrible, lousy informal, appalling, ghastly, atrocious, horrendous

bad, but not very bad: not very good, mediocre, second-rate, so-so, lacklustre

of bad quality: shoddy, inferior, poor quality, cheap, crummy informal

bad at doing something: be no good at something

very bad at doing something: hopeless, terrible, useless, lousy informal, incompetent

morally bad: evil, wicked, immoral, corrupt, sick, perverted, degenerate


See also
bad

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary