: causing nausea or disgust : nauseating
the nauseous smell of rotting garbage
: 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
nauseously adverb
nauseousness noun
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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is one nauseous or nauseated?

Some usage guides have held that there should be a strict distinction between nauseous and nauseated, with the first word meaning "causing nausea or disgust" and the second one meaning "affected with nausea." However, nauseous has been in widespread enough use for both of these senses that this distinction is now quite blurred. Nauseous may mean either "causing nausea" or "affected with nausea"; nauseated, on the other hand, is restricted in meaning to "affected with nausea; feeling disgust."

What is the verb for nauseous?

The verb form of nauseous is nauseate, meaning "to affect with nausea or disgust." It comes from the Latin word meaning "seasickness, nausea," which itself may be traced back to the Greek word for "sailor" (nautēs).

Is nausea a noun?

Nausea is a noun, meaning "a stomach distress with distaste for food and an urge to vomit" or "extreme disgust." A number of other nouns are closely related in meaning, including nauseant ("something that causes nausea"), nauseousness ("an instance of nausea"), and nauseatingness ("the quality or state of being nauseating").

Examples of nauseous in a Sentence

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
She unleashed, too, an olfactory effect of such nauseous potency as to make him gag and retch. Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, 1989
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
Ermyn didn't take sugar, but she sipped the nauseous solution bravely, incapable of rebuffing a kindness. Alice Thomas Ellis, The Sin Eater, 1977
The smell of gasoline makes me nauseous. I began to feel nauseous.
Recent Examples on the Web A lot of people feel really nauseous, vomit, have gastrointestinal problems on these drugs. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 9 July 2024 Exposure to toxic fumes can cause people to feel dizzy, nauseous, or experience headaches or cramping. Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY, 20 June 2024 There’s nothing worse than sitting at a poolside bar enjoying the ocean views and suddenly feeling nauseous. Megan Dubois, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 May 2024 Exhibitors worried that audiences would get nauseous looking at huge Imax images for too long, especially if the cuts were too quick or the camera moved too fast. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 21 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for nauseous 

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

Word History


see nausea

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nauseous was in 1612

Dictionary Entries Near nauseous

Cite this Entry

“Nauseous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: affected with or causing nausea or disgust
feel nauseous
a nauseous odor
nauseously adverb

Medical Definition


: causing nausea
: affected with nausea

More from Merriam-Webster on nauseous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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