What Does Under the Weather Mean?

Under the Weather Meaning

Definition: Not feeling well.

This expression is used to describe a person who is feeling a little sick. It is typically used for something like a cold or the flu but not for a serious illness.

Origin of Feeling Under the Weather

This idiom has nautical origins and comes from the early 1800s. Sources state that when sailors or passengers of a boat felt sick, they would go below deck to recover.

Oftentimes, these people would feel ill because of turbulent water during stormy weather.

Examples of Feeling Under the Weather

idiom under the weatherIn this dialogue, one employee is explaining to another that she doesn’t feel very well.

Deanna: I think I might go home early.

Emily: Why? What’s wrong?

Deanna: I felt a little under the weather this morning, but now that I’m here, I feel much worse.

Emily: Oh no! Do you have a cold?

Deanna: No, I think I ate something bad yesterday. My stomach feels pretty upset.

Emily: Well, you’d better go home before you start to feel even worse.

Deanna: Yeah, I think I will.

what does the idiom under the weather meanIn the second example, two teammates are playing baseball. One of them is not playing well because he feels sick.

Billy: I’m really sorry I struck out.

Angie: That’s okay. But do you feel okay? You’re not playing as well as you usually do.

Billy: To be honest, I am feeling under the weather. I didn’t want to stay home because I know you need every player you can get.

Angie: Of course we want you here, but not if you’re sick. Go home and feel better.

Billy: Okay. Thank you!

More Examples

The first excerpt argues against going to work while sick.

  • If you have anything more than that, though, consider the risk of coming in the office under the weather. –Chicago Tribune

In the second excerpt, an athlete explains that he was feeling sick during the game.

  • A peaked-looking London Perrantes emerged from the visitor’s locker room with tired eyes and a wan smile Tuesday night. Virginia’s senior point guard admitted he was feeling a touch under the weather. –Washington Post


The phrase under the weather is another way to say that someone is mildly ill.