Death Warmed Over – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did you wake up after a night of drinking, feeling like death warmed over? This idiom describes a feeling of ill health related to activities or illness. It’s a popular phrase still in use today, and there are several applications for its use.

Death warmed over” is suitable for use in informal settings when you’re talking to friends, family members, or colleges. Other people may also use it to describe your appearance or demeanor.

It’s also interchangeable with “death warmed up.” Let’s look at the scenarios where you can use this idiom, its meaning, and origins.

Death Warmed Over Meaning

When you say “death warmed over,” you’re referring you your physical or mental state. It describes a negative feeling where you don’t feel well or wake up feeling sick.

Death warmed over doesn’t always refer to illness. You can use the phrase to describe self-inflicted problems, such as drinking too much and waking the following day with a hangover. It could also represent a state of physical or mental exhaustion, leaving you feeling terrible.

Death Warmed Over Example Usage

Death warmed over is suitable for use in situations where you’re describing your current state of ill physical or mental health. Here are some examples of how to use it in a conversation.

  • I went out last night with friends and drank too much. Today I feel like death warmed over.
  • I stayed up late working on that project, and today I feel like death warmed over.
  • Joe looks like death warmed over today; I wonder what the matter with him is?
  • I think I’m coming down with the flu; I feel like death warmed over.
  • I just can’t think today; I feel like death warmed over.
  • There’s no way I can come to work today. I feel like death warmed over.
  • That breakfast buffet looks like death warmed over.

Death Warmed Over Origin

The origin of the idiom “death warmed over” comes from the 1939 work by Ngaio Marsh titled “The Soldier’s War Slang Dictionary.” She would also use it in her 1942 work, “Death and the dancing footman.” The original text states, “I look like death warmed up and what I feel is nobody’s business.”

The use of death warmed up is more common than death warmed over. However, both sayings are interchangeable and have the same meaning or reference.

Phrases Similar to Death Warmed Over

There are a few sayings, phrases, and idioms similar to death warmed over.

  • Death warmed up.
  • I feel like the dog’s breakfast.
  • Under the weather.
  • Out of the game.
  • Out of it.
  • Dragged through the mud.

Phrases Opposite to Death Warmed Over

Phrases or idioms with the opposite meaning to death warmed over are the following.

  • I feel like a million dollars.
  • I feel like I’m on the moon.
  • I feel bright and bonny.
  • Everything is rosy.
  • I’m ready to go.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Death warmed up.
  • Death warmed over.

These two sayings are interchangeable. Death warmed up in the more common use of the idiom in modern language.

Ways People May Say Death Warmed Over Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase incorrectly when referring to people or objects or with an insensitive reference to someone in a dire health situation.

  • She’s suffering from cancer and looks like death warmed over.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Death Warmed Over

You’ll use death warmed over to make light of how you feel. Typically, it doesn’t refer to you feeling like you will die. Rather, it’s to reference you feeling ill or mentally cloudy. It can also refer to your appearance or demeanor to others.

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