col·​ly·​wob·​bles | \ ˈkä-lē-ˌwä-bəlz How to pronounce collywobbles (audio) \

Definition of collywobbles

Did You Know?

We don't know who first clutched his or her tummy and called the affliction "collywobbles," but we do know the word's earliest print appearance dates from around 1823. We also know that the word probably came about through a process called "folk etymology." In that process, unusual words are transformed to make them look or sound like other, more familiar words. Collywobbles is believed to be a friendlier-sounding transformation of cholera morbus (the New Latin term for the disease cholera) that was influenced by the words colic and wobble.

First Known Use of collywobbles

circa 1823, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for collywobbles

perhaps by folk etymology from New Latin cholera morbus, literally, the disease cholera

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about collywobbles

Time Traveler for collywobbles

Time Traveler

The first known use of collywobbles was circa 1823

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about collywobbles

Statistics for collywobbles

Cite this Entry

“Collywobbles.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on collywobbles

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for collywobbles

Comments on collywobbles

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


to state or do over again or repeatedly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!