[ naw-zee-uh, -zhuh, -see-uh, -shuh ]
/ ˈnɔ zi ə, -ʒə, -si ə, -ʃə /
Save This Word!

a feeling of sickness in the stomach, especially when accompanied by a loathing for food and an involuntary impulse to vomit.
extreme disgust; loathing; repugnance.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of nausea

First recorded in 1560–70; from Latin nausea, nausia, from unattested Greek nausíā (Ionic nausíē ) “seasickness,” derivative of naûs “ship”; see -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does nausea mean?

Nausea is a feeling of sickness in your stomach, as if you might vomit.

People can experience nausea from food that has upset their stomach, from the side effects of medications, or from a number of other conditions that affect the stomach, such as seasickness, motion sickness, morning sickness, carsickness, and anxiety.

To have nausea is to feel nauseous or nauseated. To nauseate is to cause nausea. Things that cause nausea can be described as nauseating (or, less commonly, nauseous).

The word nausea can also be used in a figurative way meaning a feeling of disgust, revulsion, or repulsion, as in I felt a sense of nausea wash over me when witnessing their cruelty.  

Example: If you feel nausea coming on, try lying down and breathing through your nose.

Where does nausea come from?

The first records of the word nausea come from the 1500s. It is thought to derive from the Greek nausíā, meaning “seasickness,” from naûs, meaning “ship” (the same root is the basis of the word nautical).

Nausea makes you feel like you might throw up, but it doesn’t always end in throwing up. It’s a terrible feeling and it can be caused by very different things, including bad food, inner ear problems, and stress.

The figurative sense of nausea is not that commonly used. When someone experiences this kind of nausea, it’s more common to describe them as nauseated or to describe the thing that’s causing the figurative nausea as nauseating.

Notably, Nausea is the title of a 1938 existentialist novel by Jean-Paul Sartre whose main character experiences literal, figurative, and metaphorical nausea.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to nausea?

What are some synonyms for nausea?

What are some words that share a root or word element with nausea?

What are some words that often get used in discussing nausea?

How is nausea used in real life?

The word nausea is most commonly used in a literal sense in the context of someone who feels like they might vomit.



Try using nausea!

Which of the following words can be used as a synonym of the figurative sense of nausea?

A. disgust
B. repulsion
C. revulsion
D. all of the above

How to use nausea in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nausea

/ (ˈnɔːzɪə, -sɪə) /

the sensation that precedes vomiting
a feeling of disgust or revulsion

Word Origin for nausea

C16: via Latin from Greek: seasickness, from naus ship
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for nausea

[ nôzē-ə, -zhə ]

A symptom characterized by gastrointestinal distress and an urge to vomit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.