Worried Sick (about someone or something)

Also: Worry oneself sick

Meaning of Idiom ‘Worried Sick’

To be worried sick about someone or something means to be very worried or anxious. 1Webber, Elizabeth, and Mike Feinsilber. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Allusions. Merriam-Webster, 2000.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. ,3Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.

Usage

This idiom is always used in the past tense or present perfect continuous unless the variation “worry oneself sick” is used. Examples:

“I worry sick about you.” (incorrect)

“I worry myself sick over you. (correct)

“I was worried sick about you.” (correct)

“I’ve been worried sick about you.” (correct)

“I’ve worried myself sick over you.” (correct)

Examples Of Use

“Where have you been all night?” said Mom. “We were worried sick about you!”

“I’m worried sick about this job interview. What if I don’t get it?”

“My dog isn’t acting himself. I’m worried sick about him.”

“Don’t worry yourself sick over something you can’t control.”

Origin

Used since the second half of the 1800s, 4Webber, Elizabeth, and Mike Feinsilber. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Allusions. Merriam-Webster, 2000. this idiom is only partly an exaggeration. It is certainly possible to feel ill from worry.

More Idioms Starting with W

More Sick Idioms

More Worry Idioms

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 4. Webber, Elizabeth, and Mike Feinsilber. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Allusions. Merriam-Webster, 2000.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.