I’ve been under the weather, lately. You know what I mean, that feeling of malaise, sniffling, sneezing, coughing! I have a cold, but no doubt the gray sky and rain contributes to the gloomy mood–to be under the weather, weighed down by the cover of clouds.
Under the weather–you know the feeling–sick, tired, exhausted. Who isn’t feeling under the weather these days, with the current climate in Washington?
Where did the expression “under the weather” come from? Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist at WGN-TV, was asked this question in his column Ask Tom Why. You can read his answer here.
He suggests two possibilities–one, that weather conditions can affect moods, cause headaches, aggravate arthritis, etc. Studies have been done to confirm this. And we know from experience that we may feel more energized and optimistic on a sunny day, like today.
The second meaning comes from the nautical expression “under the weather bow,” meaning the side of the ship that is facing the prevailing winds.
Many of our familiar weather sayings originally come from farmers and sailors. The Old Farmer’s Almanac further expands on the expression “under the weather bow.” They suggest that sailors would take shelter from bad weather by going below decks to ride out the storm. Literally, they would be “under the weather bow.” You can read more here.
This is one of The Urban Dictionary definitions of “under the weather” —
During the days when ships were powered by sail, the captains log documented everything that happended during the day. As sickness could spread rapidly on a ship,there were often times where the number of sailers that were ill exceeded the space provided in the log to record their names. During these times, the excess names of the sick were recorded in the next column, which was reserved for the weather conditions of the day. Thus, it was not unusual for an ill sailor to be listed “under the weather”.
Yes, that also makes sense to me. What do you think?
In a way, we are always under the weather, under its influence. We are in the weather, and part of it, too. I hope you are feeling more positive energy today, under the sun and blue.