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

Definition of collywobbles

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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

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The first known use of collywobbles was circa 1823

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Cite this Entry

“Collywobbles.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collywobbles. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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