One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
predicative Pale from illness or fatigue; sickly.‘you're looking a bit peaky—a change of scene would do you good’
pale, pasty-faced, pasty, wan, drained, washed out, drawn, pallid, colourless, anaemic, bloodless, whey-faced, ashen, ashen-faced, ashy, grey, pinched, sickly, sallow, as white as a ghost, as white as a sheet, deathly pale, cadaverous, corpse-like, ill-looking, sickly-lookingView synonyms
- ‘I must say that he's looking a bit peaky after the drubbing he's had over his law partnership.’
- ‘Then he had the gall to say, ‘Look, if he's very old and is looking a bit peaky don't put a correction in for a couple of days.’
- ‘I won't go into the gory details about what's been making me peaky.’
- ‘There he is on the cover, looking a bit peaky, naturally.’
- ‘The smokers, faced with the climb down from, and more importantly back up to, the third floor for a ciggy are now looking a bit peaky.’
- ‘Their client was lean and tall, with the peaky face of an adolescent who was still growing.’
- ‘I've never seen a make up lady on the verge of tears before but my puffed out peaky face was a challenge too far.’
- ‘Some of the lads were beginning to look distinctly peaky.’
- ‘I was feeling a bit peaky tonight, and I crept off to bed early, and dropped off, despite the soundtrack burbling away in the background.’
- ‘She was already starting to look peaky and pale.’
- ‘It's as though your mum thinks you look a bit peaky and wants to build you up.’
- ‘But she was feeling a little peaky during lunch and I convinced her to let me stay home in the afternoon.’
- ‘I've had better ideas than going out after drinks, on an empty stomach, when feeling a mite peaky to see a free film.’
- ‘She's been peaky for a couple of days now after working far too hard.’
Early 19th century: from peak + -y.
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