English idioms sickness

Everyday English: Idioms about Sickness

It’s cold season here in the States, and I am not talking about the weather. “Cold” can also be a noun, and it’s a common illness that can affect your eyes, nose, throat and makes you not feel very well. Unfortunately, everyone deals with the common cold, so as a fluent English speaker you should know how to talk about it. That why, today, we’re reviewing a common theme for English idioms, sickness.

This week we’ll review some common symptoms related to being sick, and review English idioms about sickness. You’ll learn important vocabulary and language to help you on your next visit to the doctors, while talking with a friend, or perhaps taking an English proficiency exam.

The video will help you see, listen, and review this English lesson today, and you can continue reading below for more information.

Let’s get into it! Don’t forget your pen and paper….

English Vocabulary & Idioms about Sickness

Common Symptoms

  • symptoms: changes in the body that are signs of illness
  • stuffy nose: a nose that is congested; full of snot/mucus
  • runny nose: a nose that drains (drips) mucus or body liquid
  • sore [adjective]: pain
  • sore throat: pain in your throat (tube in your neck)
  • sore body/muscles: aches in the muscles in your body
  • cough: expel air from your throat with a loud noise, often when you’re sick or have something in your throat
  • sneeze: to force air out of the mouth and nose (often with liquid) because of your body’s reaction to dust, sickness or something else
  • headache: pain in your head
  • fever/temperature: a high temperature in your body (higher than 98.6 degrees F)
  • migraine: an extremely bad headache
  • nauseous: upset stomach, feeling like you’re going to vomit

Idioms and English Expressions

  • to be/look/feel under the weather: we are not well, we are sick
    • I am under the weather today.
    • He looks under the weather.
    • They both feel under the weather.
  • splitting headache: a very, very bad headache
    • She has had a splitting headache all week!
  • to be sick as a dog: to be very very sick
    • I was as sick as a dog last week!
  • to take a turn for the worse: to become sicker than you were before
    • We both took a turn for the worse yesterday and made an appointment for the doctor.
  • to puke one’s guts out: to vomit/throw up a lot
    • He always pukes his guts out when he has the flu.


Remember the American “T” sometimes sounds like a “D”, as in the common word “water”. In this week’s video lesson you can hear me pronounce the word “splitting” as in “splitting headache”. Even though it has a “T”, you will hear me pronounce it with a “D”. This is because the “T’s” come in between 2 vowel sounds. When a “T” comes in between 2 vowels, it will have that “D” sound. Got it?

Practice Makes Perfect

Can you write about the last time you were sick? Are you able to write about your last visit to the doctor? Are you confident in your ability to use all of these new vocabulary words and expressions? If you don’t try and immediately apply what you’ve learned, then it’s much easier for you to forget the information. So practice makes perfect!

  1. Write a text about the last time you were sick and your visit to the doctor. What symptoms did you have? Why did you go?
  2. Create 5 discussion questions to ask your conversation partner. For example: What do you do when you have a splitting headache?
  3. Find synonyms for some of the language above and write them down in a sentence. For example: If I have a splitting headache, I have an awful headache. If I am sore, I am in pain.

You can also comment some of your answers in the comment below!

Do you know someone learning English? Please share this article with them! Help me… help even more people learn English and improve their everyday English skills.

Until next time,

Happy Studying! ♥

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  1. […] Psssst…you can review more vocabulary about sickness here. […]

  2. Farid on February 28, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Hello my dear Tutor
    Thank you a lot for sending me English courses ,they are really very interesting..
    All the best

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