As sick as a parrot – English Idiom – Online English Lessons

To be as sick as a parrot is to be very disappointed, unhappy, or depressed about something.

This expression is British informal English and it’s often used in a humorous way in sporting contexts: for example, to express disappointment at losing a football game.

It’s not clear where this expression came from. Some people think it was first used by a sports commentator or sports person in the 1970s; others think it might have its origins in the infectious parrot disease, psittacosis, that can cause a serious form of pneumonia in humans.

Examples of use:

1. I was as sick as a parrot when Manchester United lost.

2. I feel as sick as a parrot that the UK didn’t win last year’s Eurovision Song Contest!

3. Wayne Rooney was as sick as a parrot when he missed his chance to score a goal.

Have you heard this expression being used? Where have you heard it?

Image © Frank Jakobi