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be taken ill

To become ill or unwell, especially quickly or unexpectedly. Mrs. Smith was taken ill last night and an ambulance had to be called to bring her to the hospital. I was taken ill after someone spiked my drink with alcohol.
See also: ill, taken

get sick

1. To be or become ill or generally unwell. I got really sick last week and had to miss several days of work. You're going to get sick in this cold weather if you don't bundle up!
2. To become nauseated, sometimes to the point of vomiting. I'm getting sick driving around all these winding mountain roads. After drinking an entire bottle of vodka, Jim got sick all over his shoes.
3. To become repelled or disgusted by something. I get sick thinking about how much we have to pay for our medical insurance.
See also: get, sick

house of ill fame

A brothel or house of prostitution. Though obviously in decline in recent years, houses of ill fame can still be found in the seedier parts of the city.
See also: fame, house, ill, of

take ill

To be or become sick or unwell. I heard your sister has taken ill recently. I hope that it isn't anything too serious?
See also: ill, take

augur well for someone or something

to indicate or predict good things for someone or something. (Usually in the negative.) This latest economic message does not augur well for the stock market. I am afraid that this poll data does not augur well for the incumbent in the election.
See also: well

fall ill

Fig. to become ill. Tom fell ill just before he was to perform. We both fell ill after eating the baked fish.
See also: fall, ill

house of ill repute

 and house of ill fame
Euph. a house of prostitution. The sign says "Health Club," but everyone knows it's a house of ill repute. He made a lot of money by running a house of ill fame.
See also: house, ill, of, repute

ill at ease

uneasy; anxious. I feel ill at ease about the interview. You look ill at ease. Please relax.
See also: ease, ill

ill will

hostile feelings or intentions. I hope you do not have any ill will toward me because of our argument. Dave felt such ill will toward his family that he left his fortune to his best friend.
See also: ill, will

ill-disposed to doing something

not friendly; not favorable; opposed. I am ill-disposed to doing hard labor. The police chief was ill-disposed to discussing the details of the case to the news reporters.

ill-gotten gains

money or other possessions acquired in a dishonest or illegal fashion. Bill cheated at cards and is now living on his ill-gotten gains. Mary is enjoying her ill-gotten gains. She deceived an old lady into leaving her $5,000 in her will.
See also: gain

It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

Prov. Only a foolish or dishonorable person would bring dishonor to his or her self or his or her surroundings.; Only a bad person would ruin the place where he or she lives. (See also foul one's own nest.) I don't like my new neighbor. Not only does he never mow his lawn, he covers it with all kinds of trash. It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
See also: bird, foul, ill, nest

It's an ill wind that blows nobody (any) good.

Prov. Even misfortune can benefit someone or something.; A calamity for one person usually benefits somebody else. The tremendous hailstorm left gaping holes in most of the roofs in town, so many families were homeless. The roofing companies, however, made plenty of money fixing those holes. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
See also: blow, good, ill, nobody, wind

It's ill waiting for dead men's shoes.

Prov. You should not be eager for someone to die so that you inherit something. Phil: Why should I bother to learn some kind of trade? I'll be rich when Grandpa dies and leaves me all his money. Alan: It's ill waiting for dead men's shoes.
See also: dead, ill, shoe, waiting

Never speak ill of the dead.

Prov. You should not say bad things about dead people. Your Uncle Phil had a lot of faults, but there's no reason to talk about them now that he's gone. Never speak ill of the dead. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Amy was a mean woman, God rest her soul.
See also: dead, ill, never, of, speak

speak ill of someone

to say something bad about someone. I refuse to speak ill of any of my friends. Max speaks ill of no one and refuses to repeat gossip.
See also: ill, of, speak

woman of ill repute

Euph. a prostitute. His favorite companion was a woman of ill repute. If you can't be faithful to your husband, you're no better than a woman of ill repute.
See also: ill, of, repute, woman

ill at ease

worried and uncomfortable The old gentleman obviously felt ill at ease while he waited to have his hair cut.
Opposite of: at ease
See also: ease, ill

be ill at ease

to feel anxious or embarrassed (often + with ) He always felt a little ill at ease with strangers. (sometimes + in ) The girl behind the bar looked ill at ease in her uniform.
See also: ease, ill

It's an ill wind (that blows nobody any good).

something that you say which means most bad things that happen have a good result for someone But it's an ill wind. The wettest June in history has replenished the reservoirs.
See also: ill, wind

augur well for

Also, augur ill for; bode well or ill for . Have good (or bad) expectations for someone or something. For example, John's recovery from surgery augurs well for the team and The Republican victory in the Congressional elections bodes ill for affirmative action. The verb augur is derived from the Latin word for "soothsayer" (predictor of the future), a meaning perpetuated in this phrase and so used since the late 1700s. The verb bode comes from the Old English bodian, meaning "to announce or foretell," and is rarely heard today except in this idiom, which dates from about 1700.
See also: well

get sick

1. Also, take sick or ill . Become ill, as in It's just my luck to get sick on vacation, or When was she taken ill? [Ninth century]
2. Become disgusted, as in We got sick as we learned how much money was wasted, or I get sick when I hear about his debts. [Early 1500s] Also see make one sick.
3. Also, get sick to one's stomach; be sick. Become nauseated, vomit, as in If you eat any more candy you'll get sick, or Sick to her stomach every morning? She must be pregnant. [Early 1600s]
See also: get, sick

ill at ease

Uncomfortable, uneasy, as in Large parties made him feel ill at ease. [c. 1300] For an antonym, see at ease.
See also: ease, ill

ill-gotten gains

Benefits obtained in an evil manner or by dishonest means, as in They duped their senile uncle into leaving them a fortune and are now enjoying their ill-gotten gains . [Mid-1800s]
See also: gain

ill wind that blows no one any good, it's an

A loss or misfortune usually benefits someone. For example, They lost everything when that old shed burned down, but they got rid of a lot of junk as well-it's an ill wind . This expression appeared in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection and remains so well known that it is often shortened. It also gave rise to a much-quoted pun about the difficulty of playing the oboe, describing the instrument as an ill wind that nobody blows good.
See also: any, blow, ill, one, wind


1. mod. lame; dull; bad. That broad is truly ill and has a face that would stop a clock.
2. and illing and illin’ mod. excellent; cool. We had an ill time at your party. Loved it!


See ill
See also: ill

ill at ease

Anxious or unsure; uneasy: The stranger made me feel ill at ease.
See also: ease, ill