Re: off topic... what's the meaning of this expression?

Subject: Re: off topic... what's the meaning of this expression?
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 13:28:09 -0600

On Mon, 1 May 1995, Sue Heim wrote:

> Kelly Kremin wanted to know...

> > the vapors
> >
> > What does it mean? My boss insists it means a swooning spell. I was
> > certain I'd learned that the vapors was flatulence.

> Hahahah!! Flatulence?!!? Hahaha! Oh my! ROTFL!! I guess that would be
> a more current definition, but my understanding is that, in Victorian
> times especially, women would get the vapors (sometimes as a direct
> result of having laced up their corsets too tightly). Seriously, I
> always thought it meant a fainting spell, but my dictionary referred
> to a form of hypochondria.

I had the same impression that Sue did that "vapors" meant a fainting
spell in Victorian times. Certainly that is the impression given in
novels based on that period. However, the closest I could find to that
definition is in my OED which does indicate that it sometimes means a
depression associated with a nervous state or a form of hypochondria.
Interesting.

RoMay Sitze, rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu


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