Confused Expressions #1: Like Hell Warmed Over

As a writer, I’m interested in the ways language is used (and abused), and especially with expressions that make no sense. From time to time on this blog, I’ll post my thoughts on these phrases, tagging them under “Confused Expressions.” The first has been on my mind since I’ve been feeling under the weather lately, and it’s an expression people often use when they’re sick: “I feel like hell warmed over.” Of course that makes no sense: hell is pretty warm already and a little more warmth probably wouldn’t make a difference. I believe the expression is a conflation of two others: “I feel like hell” and “I feel like death warmed over.” Of course I’m not so annoying that I’ll start deconstructing the expression if someone tells me they feel like hell warmed over; sickness is a time for giving lots of care and sympathy and little else.

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