It’s not just at Christmas time that people often confuse “nauseous” vs. “nauseated,” but for some reason, it seems to come up during the holidays a lot.
Here’s a quick reminder:
- If you feel ill, you are “nauseated.”
- If you make the people around you feel sick, you are “nauseous.”
Boris Karloff famously sings, “You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.” This is the correct form of the word. He doesn’t say, “You make me nauseous.”
Nauseous is usually reserved for things that affect other people. Fumes are nauseous. That dish your Aunt Sally always brings to Christmas dinner is nauseous. Okay, maybe some people and grinches are too, but most of the time, “nauseated” is the word you’re looking for when describing how gross you feel if you ate too much roast beast.
Too much eggnog makes me…
Do you know the right word?
Maybe when people are feeling a bit sick, we can allow for their word choice to be less than perfect, but this seems to be a case of not knowing the difference.
But now you know. Be careful with your holiday spirits and your word choice, folks.