nau·​se·​at·​ing ˈnȯ-zhē-ˌā-tiŋ How to pronounce nauseating (audio)
: causing nausea or especially disgust
nauseatingly adverb
Nauseous vs. Nauseated: Usage Guide

Those who insist that nauseous can properly be used only to mean "causing nausea" and that its later "affected with nausea" meaning 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 to mean "causing nausea or disgust" is much more often figurative than literal, and this use appears to be losing ground to nauseating. Nauseated is used more widely than nauseous when referring to being affected with nausea.

Examples of nauseating in a Sentence

the nauseating smell of rotting garbage The way the animals were treated was nauseating. It was nauseating to see the two of them act like lovesick teenagers.
Recent Examples on the Web This includes a front seating space capable of switching between a typical forward-facing position or a more sociable, but also potentially more nauseating, rearward-facing position that allows front and rear passengers to face one another. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, 19 Aug. 2022 The grisly encounter that sets the plot in motion is mercifully less nauseating than the novel; one major character is added; and one villain, securely incarcerated in the book, instead remains at large. Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2022 And sometimes, the cooking process looks pretty nauseating, but the finished product turns out to look so normal that commenters suspect the video was cut and edited. Lydia Wang,, 2 June 2021 With a 25 percent discount, the price is also slightly less nauseating. Adrienne So, Wired, 13 Apr. 2021 Since the rise of personal video technologies, particularly the smartphone camera, modern lynchings of black men and women like Arbery’s have been captured with nauseating frequency. Jason Parham, Wired, 12 May 2020 It was finalized on March 31 amid a public-health crisis and a nauseating recession, with only a presidential tweet and a five-sentence press release to show for itself. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 13 Apr. 2020 Only one team in the top eight in pace is in the top 10 in free-throw shooting — Houston, whose best player, James Harden, is an excellent free-throw shooter who gets to the line at a nauseating pace. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, 22 Nov. 2019 Violent movies and video games are not the cause of the nauseating wave of mass shootings and random gun deaths in this country; the cause is the guns. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Oct. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nauseating.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1645, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nauseating was in 1645

Dictionary Entries Near nauseating

Cite this Entry

“Nauseating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: causing nausea and especially disgust
nauseating behavior
nauseatingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on nauseating

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