Nauseous vs. Nauseated

Am I Nauseous?

nauseous-or-nauseatingWell, after all the dessert from the last post, you might have a tummy ache.

Maybe you’re even feeling a little nauseous. Or is it nauseated? Hmm …


Nauseous vs. nauseated is one that a lot of people get wrong, so don’t worry if you’re one of them.

You really shouldn’t blame yourself. A lot of correct usage comes from hearing the wrong usage over and over.

And I’m not saying your high school English teacher was no good. It could be that all of your friends in high school used the wrong word. Or it could be that you read the incorrect usage in an article.

Never fear, my grammar underling. Today is the day that you learn the difference between nauseous and nauseated.



In the above example, after lots of dessert, you might feel nauseated. An overload of sugar might make you feel sick to your stomach.

In contrast, nauseous originally was used to describe something that causes nausea, such as the smell of dirty feet, the kitty litterbox, and sour milk all combined.



You know your fairy godmother of grammar has got your back. Here’s a hack so you’ll never use nauseous when you should use nauseated:


1) Commit to memory that nauseated means feeling sick to your stomach.


2) Forget nauseous completely.

Instead, use nauseating to describe something that makes you want to get sick. And nauseating is interchangeable with sickening.

Image courtesy of Google


Many dictionaries give their blessing for using both nauseated and nauseous to convey that awful feeling of being on the verge of tossing your cookies.

But it wasn’t always that way. I remember saying to my father once that I felt nauseous when I should have said nauseated and was promptly corrected for it.



Sorry, sweets! If you want to sound like the smartest person in the room, you cannot use terms that not everyone will deem correct, even if most people do.

Master the difference between nauseous and nauseated and you are one step closer to earning your very own grammar crown.



If you found this post helpful, share the love. Share it! Your friends, co-workers, and family members will thank you for it.

Also remember that if a grammar point has you stumped, call in the cavalry or, well, your fairy godmother of grammar. Ping me: @Snowflake_Story or @JillBarletti.

¡Hasta pronto!

xx  Fairy Godmother of Grammar


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PS - Thank you to OpenClipart-Vectors on for the sick face in the main image for this post.