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Is it "starve a fever" or feed a fever? (the American saying)

 
 
fbaezer
 
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:15 pm
Much of my English was learned with an American girlfriend I had as a teen. Her mother had this phrase about illnesses: "feed a cold and starve a fever", and I have always taken it as a form of American wisdom.
Now, my wife's English conversation teacher told her it is "feed a fever", which is to make it deeper, so that many of the toxines leave the body.
Which is the correct American saying? Or is it that they have one saying in New Yoek (my formwr girlfriend's mom) and another in California (the teacher).

This is question about the usage of English, not about medicine & heañth.
 
View best answer, chosen by fbaezer
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:29 pm
@fbaezer,
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Feed+a+cold+and+starve+a+fever

http://www.english-idioms.com/index_files/feed-a-cold-starve-a-fever.html

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/health/medical-myth-feed-a-cold-starve-a-fever-20130507-2j494.html

given all the references to feed a cold ... being the correct idiom, I have heard it said both ways
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:29 pm
In Britain (where English comes from) people say "feed a cold, starve a fever" (since at least 1500).
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:29 pm
@fbaezer,
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-feed-a-cold/

Quote:
Maxims typically date back many years, but “feed a cold, starve a fever” may beat them all. This saying has been traced to a 1574 dictionary by John Withals, which noted that “fasting is a great remedy of fever.” The belief is that eating food may help the body generate warmth during a “cold” and that avoiding food may help it cool down when overheated.


http://farmersalmanac.com/health/2010/01/25/feed-a-fever-and-starve-a-cold-or-vice-versa/

Quote:
We’ve all heard the saying — “Starve a fever and feed a cold.” Or is it, “Feed a fever and starve a cold?” While many people get confused on the wording, the actual phrase, which dates back to the middle 1500s, advocates starving a fever while feeding a cold.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:40 pm
Referring to the title, the saying is not merely an "American" saying, it is an English saying, that is, it is found all over the English speaking world, in which there are nearly as many English speakers outside the United States as in them.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:53 pm
@fbaezer,
Now that you have your answer, I'll try to relate a comic strip from years ago.

The kid's hungry and the parents are arguing whether it's "starve a fever; feed a cold", or "starve a cold; feed a fever". By questioning the parents, kid determines that he does have a fever and does have a cold. Now, he points to his mouth and says "I'm hungry! Feed me".
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 02:08 pm
Thank you, guys, for your fast and precise answers.

(And Contrex, I bow: it's old English wisdom, not American wisdom)

It's always nice to be on the winning side of a discussion with your spouse (and her teacher). Smile
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 08:23 pm
@fbaezer,
Feed a cold and also the mother.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 04:27 pm
@ossobuco,
Adds, I'm a californian, and so there.
0 Replies
 
 

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