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adjective nau·seous \ˈnȯ-shəs, ˈnȯ-zē-əs\

Simple Definition of nauseous

  • : feeling like you are about to vomit

  • : causing you to feel like you are going to vomit

  • : causing disgust

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of nauseous

  1. 1 :  causing nausea or disgust :  nauseating

  2. 2 :  affected with nausea or disgust

nauseously adverb
nauseousness noun

Usage Discussion of nauseous

Those who insist that nauseous can properly be used only in sense 1 and that in sense 2 it is an error for nauseated are mistaken. Current evidence shows these facts: nauseous is most frequently used to mean physically affected with nausea, usually after a linking verb such as feel or become; figurative use is quite a bit less frequent. Use of nauseous in sense 1 is much more often figurative than literal, and this use appears to be losing ground to nauseating. Nauseated is used more widely than nauseous in sense 2.

Examples of nauseous in a sentence

  1. Instead what they do is all sit together and feel really bad, and pray. Nobody does anything as nauseous as try to make everybody all pray together or pray aloud or anything, but you can tell what they're doing. —David Foster Wallace, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2001

  2. She looked slightly nauseous, as though she had just watched someone being sick. However, when she drew out her wand and pointed it at Barty Crouch, her hand was quite steady. —J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000

  3. She unleashed, too, an olfactory effect of such nauseous potency as to make him gag and retch. —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, 1989

  4. Personally, I think that writing must be a bit like pregnancy: It begins with a microscopic idea that with time grows and takes shape and comes alive. And often, when I get up in the morning and look at what I wrote the night before, sure enough—I become nauseous. —Mike Nichols, Life and other ways to kill time—1988

  5. Ermyn didn't take sugar, but she sipped the nauseous solution bravely, incapable of rebuffing a kindness. —Alice Thomas Ellis, The Sin Eater, 1977

  6. The smell of gasoline makes me nauseous.

  7. I began to feel nauseous.

Origin of nauseous

(see nausea)

First Known Use: 1612

Rhymes with nauseous

NAUSEOUS Defined for Kids


adjective nau·seous \ˈnȯ-shəs, ˈnȯ-zē-əs\

Definition of nauseous for Students

  1. 1 :  suffering from nausea

  2. 2 :  causing nausea <a nauseous smell>

Medical Dictionary


play play
adjective nau·seous \ˈnȯ-shəs, ˈnȯ-zē-əs\

Medical Definition of nauseous

  1. 1:  causing nausea

  2. 2:  affected with nausea

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up nauseous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


expressing little or no emotion

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