Knock on wood… I don’t get sick very often. I’ve never had to call in sick a single day in 20 years! Maybe I am afraid to. After all, what would I say: “Hi, I won’t be in today, I’m under the weather?” I can only imagine the reaction.
I love the expression and recently someone asked me about it. I know it means to be unwell, but where does it come from?
It turns out the popular idiom has a maritime connection. In the old days, when a sailor wasn’t feeling well, he was sent down below to help speed his recovery – under the deck and away from the weather.
Some etymologists believe the phrase is a shortened form of the nautical phrase “under the weather bow,” a reference to the windward side of the ship's bow – the side taking the brunt of the storm and its high seas.
I found a reference to the expression in Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson:
“There was a great rush of feet across the deck. I could hear people tumbling up from the cabin and the forecastle, and slipping in an instant outside my barrel, I dived behind the fore-sail, made a double towards the stern, and came out upon the open deck in time to join Hunter and Dr. Livesey in the rush for the weather bow.”
I hope you are not under the weather – but on cloud nine instead.
Have a great weekend!