blue around the gills

blue around the gills

and green around the gills
1. mod. ill; nauseated. How about a little air? I feel a little green around the gills.
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. Marty—now thoroughly green around the gills—slid neatly under the table, and everyone pretended not to notice.
See also: around, blue, gill
References in classic literature ?
My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers and things, and a hard piece of corn-crust started down my throat after it and got met on the road with a cough, and was shot across the table, and took one of the children in the eye and curled him up like a fishing-worm, and let a cry out of him the size of a warwhoop, and Tom he turned kinder blue around the gills, and it all amounted to a considerable state of things for about a quarter of a minute or as much as that, and I would a sold out for half price if there was a bidder.
You could scan the national newspapers until you're blue around the gills but be hard-pressed indeed to find a quote from a major administration official acknowledging a particular death of a U.