adjective nau·seous \ ˈnȯ-shəs , ˈnȯ-zē-əs \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

Definition of nauseous

1 : causing nausea or disgust : nauseating
  • the nauseous smell of rotting garbage
2 : affected with nausea or disgust
  • When the medication makes her tired and nauseous, she works at home instead of going to the office.
  • —Jane E. Brody





nauseous vs. nauseated

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 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 WallaceRolling Stone25 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. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire2000
  3. She unleashed, too, an olfactory effect of such nauseous potency as to make him gag and retch. —Salman RushdieThe Satanic Verses1989
  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 NicholsLife and other ways to kill time1988
  5. Ermyn didn't take sugar, but she sipped the nauseous solution bravely, incapable of rebuffing a kindness. —Alice Thomas EllisThe Sin Eater1977
  6. The smell of gasoline makes me nauseous.

  7. I began to feel nauseous.

Recent Examples of nauseous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nauseous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of nauseous

see nausea

NAUSEOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of nauseous for English Language Learners

  • : feeling like you are about to vomit

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

  • : causing disgust

NAUSEOUS Defined for Kids


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

Definition of nauseous for Students

1 : suffering from nausea
2 : causing nausea
  • a nauseous smell

Medical Dictionary


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

medical Definition of nauseous

1 : causing nausea
2 : affected with nausea

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very hard to disturb or upset

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