pale around the gills

pale around the gills

Exceptionally pale, as due to nausea or fear. I get terrible motion sickness, so I'm sure I was a little pale around the gills when I stumbled off the plane. She was really pale around the gills after that car nearly ran into her on the sidewalk.
See also: around, gill, pale

pale around the gills

 and blue around the gills; green around the gills
Fig. looking sick. (The around can be replaced with about.) John is looking a little pale around the gills. What's wrong? Oh, I feel a little green about the gills.
See also: around, gill, pale