The little things: Thanksgiving nausea

Hello readers! Like last week’s tip, my topic today is relevant to the holiday season. (I’m in a festive mood.) Let this post be my Thanksgiving greeting to you, as next week the series and I will take a break to celebrate.

Many of us, I am sure, are familiar with the Thanksgiving — and Christmas — tradition of gorging oneself on turkey, mashed potatoes and various starchy foods. But even more familiar are the consequences of this ritual: people slumped in chairs and on couches, half-conscious and fully in pain — which to some is merely the sign of a good party, but I don’t pretend to understand this.

Anyway, these people can often be found lamenting how nauseous they are. And while the sight of entire households suffering from food comas may indeed be considered nauseous, I doubt this is what these people mean.

If something is nauseous, it causes nausea. For example, roadkill, the smell of trash and particularly nasty pimples can be nauseous. So can the aforementioned food coma victims, if you happen to be sensitive to that. Nauseous, in short, means the same thing as nauseating.

These post-Thanksgiving merrymakers probably don’t mean to call themselves nauseating. What they really intend to say is that they feel nauseated. In other words, they are affected by nausea from eating too much. I reiterate that someone can be both, but most of the time, a person will not complain of being offensive to the taste or smell of others.

Some descriptive grammarians will say that, due to the increased usage of “nauseous” to mean “nauseated,” the former has taken on the definition of both. Now that is something I find nauseous.

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